Damn Kids

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 7:25 PM EDT

DAMN KIDS....From the Wall Street Journal today, Ron Alsop writes about the upcoming generation of "millennials" who are starting to enter the workplace:

If there is one overriding perception of the millennial generation, it's that these young people have great — and sometimes outlandish — expectations. Employers realize the millennials are their future work force, but they are concerned about this generation's desire to shape their jobs to fit their lives rather than adapt their lives to the workplace.

...."They really do seem to want everything, and I can't decide if it's an inability or an unwillingness to make trade-offs," says Derrick Bolton, assistant dean and M.B.A. admissions director at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. "They want to be CEO, for example, but they say they don't want to give up time with their families."

Damn coddled kids these days. Who do they think they are? For comparison, here's how kids viewed corporate work half a century ago. It's from The Organization Man, published in 1956:

On the matter of overwork they are particularly stern. They want to work hard, but not too hard; the good, equable life is paramount and they see no conflict between enjoying it and getting ahead. The usual top executive, they believe, works much too hard, and there are few subjects upon which they will discourse more emphatically than the folly of elders who have a single-minded devotion to work. Is it, they ask, really necessary any more? Or, for that matter, moral?

....Out of necessity, then, as well as natural desire, the wise young man is going to enjoy himself — plenty of time with the kids, some good hobbies, and later on he'll certainly go for more reading and music and stuff like that. He will, in sum, be the apotheosis of the well-rounded man: obtrusive in no particular, excessive in no zeal.

Damn coddled kids those days. Who did they think they were?

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Breaking: Eminem's Endorsement in the 2008 Race Is...

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 7:09 PM EDT

mojo-photo-eminem2.jpgBob Barr! Just kidding, it's Obama. Okay, for you youngsters out there, Eminem is the name of a rapper who had some very famous songs back in, uh, a 3-year period between 1999 and 2002. Since then, he's been like the Axl Rose of hip-hop, lost in the wilderness, emerging from hibernation only to toss out an album featuring a political protest song, "Mosh," that was compelling if a little too angry, and did nothing to help out that Kerry guy back in 2004. Watch it after the jump. Apparently he's working on a new album, to be called Relapse, produced by Dr. Dre and set for an early 2009 release, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Em was over in the U.K. chatting with BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe when he mentioned he's voting for Obama; he admitted that he "can't get too political because I don't know enough," but offered that "Barack would be a breath of fresh air, to get in there and actually get what's left of the Bush administration out the door." Seriously, did anybody think he'd be all about Sarah Palin?

Metacritic Needs to Revise their "Best Albums of 2008" Logarithm

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 6:26 PM EDT

mojo-photo-metacriticfront.jpgMetacritic is a pretty cool service, tracking down and averaging reviews of all sorts of pop culture output for our convenience. Movies, DVDs, games, TV shows, and music, Metacritic logs 'em all, grabbing reviews from all corners of the press and converting grades or ratings to a 100-point scale. For the busy culture afficionado, it allows for straightforward, easy inspection of critical reaction. For instance, Wall-E and Man on Wire currently top their movie list for 2008, and that makes sense: one's a popular hit, and one's a critical favorite. In 2007, their "Best-Reviewed Albums of the Year" served as a good jumping-off point in analyzing the year in music, but this year, their list has kind of gone off the deep end. After the jump, the Metacritic Top 20 (with score averages in parenthesis) and why it's a little weird.

A View of Bush From Across the Pond

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 4:03 PM EDT

Boris Johnson, Tory mayor of London:

Democracy and capitalism are the two great pillars of the American idea. To have rocked one of those pillars may be regarded as a misfortune. To have damaged the reputation of both, at home and abroad, is a pretty stunning achievement for an American president.

Via Andrew. The onslaught of Bush legacy articles and books that come out in 2009 are going to be positively brutal.

Bailout Watch - 10.21.2008

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 2:11 PM EDT

BAILOUT WATCH....The latest financial bailout news:

The Federal Reserve, continuing its expansive campaign to try to keep cash flowing through the financial system, unveiled a new program today that acts as a backstop to money market mutual funds....The Fed said this morning that it will lend up to $540 billion to new special entities that will stand ready to buy up that short-term debt from money market mutual funds.

Well, we're now guaranteeing money funds, the commercial paper market, interbank lending, and commercial deposits up to $250,000. There are so many term lending facilities available I can't even keep track of them. We're buying up toxic assets from banks and providing them with $250 billion of new capital (so far) whether they want it or not. What's next? Guaranteeing the pork belly market?

It's no wonder that even Ben Bernanke now favors a fiscal stimulus package that he'd normally hate. There's really not too much left to do, is there?

"Tito the Builder" Goes National

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 1:15 PM EDT

Earlier today, Sarah Palin introduced us to Joe the Plumber's replacement. And he's a man we met over the weekend: Tito Munoz, aka "Tito the Builder".

Speaking to supporters in Grand Junction, Colorado, Palin said, "Tito is not pleased with how the Barack Obama campaign and some of the media friends there have been roughing up Joe the Plumber." "Not pleased" is putting it mildly. Our David Corn was at the center of the Tito maelstrom on Saturday, when Munoz intentionally drew a crowd after a McCain rally in order to berate the press. David posed questions to Munoz and the crowd of unhappy McCain supporters surrounding Munoz — the result was the video we posted yesterday, titled "Mad for McCain."

Today, Palin said of Munoz, "Tito wants to know, and I quote, he asked, 'Why the heck are you going after Joe the Plumber? Joe the Plumber has an idea. He has a future. He wants to be something greater. He wants to be something else. Why is that so wrong?'" (For the record, Tito's question was "Why the hell are you going after Joe the Plumber?" but we won't quibble.)

Tito the Builder isn't exactly Joe the Plumber. Joe refuses to tell the press who he is voting for. He displays no anger. Munoz is a serious step up: he's passionately anti-media and anti-Obama. (If you watch the video linked to above, you'll note that he is also passionately anti-socialism.) Perhaps his chutzpah makes him a better surrogate for the McCain campaign. Welcome to your 15 minutes of fame, Tito.

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Five Words

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 1:10 PM EDT

FIVE WORDS....Five words I hope to hear a lot less of after November 4th:

  • acorn

  • right

  • airs

  • moose

  • bush

These are, of course, all perfectly ordinary words that have done nothing to deserve criticism. But life is unfair. I still don't want to hear them. Feel free to leave other candidates in comments.

A Prediction

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 1:07 PM EDT

A PREDICTION....Two weeks from right now we will all be desperately waiting for someone to leak the early exit polls even though we know perfectly well that early exit polls don't mean a thing.

John McCain's Problem

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 12:30 PM EDT

JOHN McCAIN'S PROBLEM....Today's New York Times poll graphically illustrates the biggest problem John McCain had going into this election. Normally, a Republican would run right in the primary and then tack to the center during the general election. But McCain, who has always been distrusted by the hardcore conservative wing of the party — the social conservatives especially — couldn't do that. In order to consolidate their support, he had to tack to the right for the general election, most spectacularly with his choice of Sarah Palin as VP.

But this has been disastrous. McCain's biggest electoral advantage was always his appeal to independents, and as he's moved to the right independents have abandoned him in droves. In the last month, his favorable rating among independents has gone down 3 points and his unfavorable rating has skyrocketed an astonishing 20 points. In other words, nearly every single independent who didn't already have an opinion about McCain has decided in the last month that they don't like him. The New John McCain has been the biggest flop imaginable.

I honestly don't know what he could have done differently to avoid this. One argument, I suppose, is that conservatives would have ended up voting for him regardless, so he should have ignored them and gone after the independent bloc like a laser. But I'll bet that wouldn't have worked either. Conservatives were genuinely uncomfortable with McCain, and if he had aggressively courted the independent vote Rush Limbaugh would have been skinning him alive 24/7 and James Dobson would still be telling his followers to stay home this year.

Was there an answer to this dilemma? I can't think of one. McCain's rock this year was very, very hard, and his hard place was very, very rocky. He was just plain screwed.

He Said, She Said

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 12:04 PM EDT

HE SAID, SHE SAID....Ezra Klein provides an example of news media "faux objectivity" outside its normal haunts of political reporting:

Take, for instance, this (very good) New York Times review of two books on meat. In the first paragraph, we're told, "Raising and processing cattle on an industrial scale is an environmental catastrophe (among other things, the United Nations has accused the world's livestock industry of being responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire global transportation fleet)." Emphasis mine.

The UN didn't "accuse" the livestock industry of anything. They published research showing that livestock production is a more significant contributor to carbon emissions than transportation is. If the author has methodological problems with the research, he should say so. If he accepts the research, then he shouldn't suggest it's an accusation — it's an empirical conclusion.

This view has become so widely accepted among blogosphere press critics that I feel like it deserves at least a little pushback. The problem here is obvious: the impact of livestock on GHG emissions is a complex subject, and for reviewer Michael Shae to take a firm position on the methodological precision of this UN study might well require weeks of research. Maybe more. And in the end, it might turn out that no firm conclusion is even possible. But for present purposes he's just writing a book review, and the UN report only takes up one sentence of his review. So unless he's already very well versed in this topic, he only has two choices: (a) leave out the anecdote entirely, or (b) tell his editor he needs a few weeks to check out a fact. Since (a) poorly serves his audience and (b) just isn't feasible, his only real choice is to note the report and its provenance without taking an authorial stand beyond that.

This kind of thing happens all the time in news stories. Maybe the word "accused" was a bad choice in this piece, but any replacement would only be marginally better and still wouldn't provide a firm take on the issue — because that's the one thing Shae really can't do. Quite often, the best you can do is to simply report various takes on an issue and leave it at that.