Tuesday tweets -- politics, math, fun with creepy chickens
23 April 2024 | 11:30 am

To Russia with Love...

We start out with, I kid you not, a MAGA letter of apology to Moscow.

I originally was 80% to 90% certain that Eagleman was a parody account like Three Year Letterman, but I checked and -- God help us -- this is real.

I've heard that China was lobbying hard for aid to... [checks notes]... Taiwan

If you traveled back in time and told me Michael Steele would become a political voice of reason, I'd say "you have a time machine?!?!?"

In case you were wondering, there really are people on the far right who make Alex Jones look like the sane one.

The Republican Senate candidate from Arizona continues to spin like a weather vane in a tornado on the biggest issue of the campaign.

As we've been saying for about two years now, keep an eye on the secondary and tertiary impact of Dobbs (like preventing women from getting prompt and appropriate treatment for miscarriages).

In case you were wondering if the Republican establishment was planning on backing away from reproductive issues until after the election.

Republicans also continue staking out other notable positions on health care.


Every candidate's supporters will tell themselves the occasional lie, but this is like Democrats in '38 telling themselves what a great mountain climber FDR is.

I try not to rely too much on these crazies in the crowd. It's too easy to cherry pick to make the other side look bad, but you'll notice it's RSBN doing the cherry picking.

Dems in disarray...

Remember when we said the money story went from Biden/Harris all the way down to the state house races?


Lots of Republicans seem to be getting nervous.



 "I got past the guard rails."
"Did you hack the system?"
"No, I just used auto-complete."

Fun with chickens.

All kidding aside, this self-described Alabama redneck is an engineer with one of the smartest and most thoughtful science channels on YouTube.

When just the name of the jpeg is enough.

If a google search of "finger guillotine" and your product's name calls up multiple videos, you may have a PR problem
22 April 2024 | 11:30 am

In terms of brand disasters, if the Edsel and the DeLorean had a child, it would be the Cyber truck. In terms of impact on the company, it would bearing much stronger resemblance to the latter. 

At the end of last week, Tesla was Trading under $150 a share, down over 40% for the year and almost two thirds from its two year high, and yet the company is still trading at an inflated price to earnings ratio far higher than any other major player in the industry (including BYD). This, despite a small and aging product line and a development pipeline that seems to have all but dried up.

The latest drop was probably driven largely by this.

Tesla is recalling all 3,878 Cybertrucks that it has shipped to date, due to a problem where the accelerator pedal can get stuck, putting drivers at risk of a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The recall caps a tumultuous week for Tesla. The company laid off more than 10% of its workforce on Monday, and lost two of its highest-ranking executives. A few days later, Tesla asked shareholders to re-vote on CEO Elon Musk’s massive compensation package that was struck down by a judge earlier this year.

I don't remember who it was but I heard a podcaster comment that it almost looked like Tesla had added a nook specially designed to hold the tip of the loose pedal. Judge for yourself.

This was the latest in a stream of what you might call bad press for the enormous vehicle. (Note: exposing your Cybertruck to a stream will void the warranty).

By all indications, other than a few wild promises (robo-taxis, humanoid robots) that even the cult members are starting to question, Elon Musk bet the company on this monstrosity which has been beaten to market by clearly superior competitors. At this point, the question isn't why Tesla's stock has dropped so much; it's why is it still so high?

Alex, what is Fear/Overcompensation/Laziness/Self-interest/Insularity/Cognitive Dissonance?*
19 April 2024 | 11:30 am

How news organizations filled with smart, dedicated, ridiculously overqualified people can be manipulated into making serious and seemingly stupid mistakes.

Uri Berliner's controversial article about his now former employer, NPR, didn't have much to recommend it directly, but it was indirectly responsible for some excellent (and very much overdue) examination of the venerable institution.


 The Washington Post's Erik Wemple did a superb job addressing Berliner's arguments, but if you're looking for a higher level view of what's wrong with NPR (and with publications such as the NYT), you could hardly do better than Alicia Montgomery's piece in Slate.

As you read it, think about how the following factors (which we all fall prey to) lead people who disliked Trump arguably to aiding and abetting him.

1. Fear -- particularly since the conservative movement, the right has gotten exceptionally good at working the refs.

2. Overcompensation -- a sincere but misguided desire to address bias that ends up creating other biases.

3. Laziness/Self-interest -- the right is good at making life easy for boys and girls on the good journalists list.

4. Insularity -- Elite groups are always prone to this, but add in a cliquish, dysfunctional culture that discouraged honest communication.

 5. Cognitive Dissonance -- never underestimate the ability of individuals and groups to rationalize away uncomfortable thoughts.

 I could use this same list of five with lots of other publications that lost their way around 2015.

Uri’s account of the deliberate effort to undermine Trump up to and after his election is also bewilderingly incomplete, inaccurate, and skewed. For most of 2016, many NPR journalists warned newsroom leadership that we weren’t taking Trump and the possibility of his winning seriously enough. But top editors dismissed the chance of a Trump win repeatedly, declaring that Americans would be revolted by this or that outrageous thing he’d said or done. I remember one editorial meeting where a white newsroom leader said that Trump’s strong poll numbers wouldn’t survive his being exposed as a racist. When a journalist of color asked whether his numbers could be rising because of his racism, the comment was met with silence. In another meeting, I and a couple of other editorial leaders were encouraged to make sure that any coverage of a Trump lie was matched with a story about a lie from Hillary Clinton. Another colleague asked what to do if one candidate just lied more than the other. Another silent response.


I left NPR in the early fall of 2016, but when I came back to work on Morning Edition about a year later, I saw NO trace of the anti-Trump editorial machine that Uri references. On the contrary, people were at pains to find a way to cover Trump’s voters and his administration fairly. We went full-bore on “diner guy in a trucker hat” coverage and adopted the “alt-right” label to describe people who could accurately be called racists. The network had a reflexive need to stay on good terms with people in power, and journalists who had contacts within the administration were encouraged to pursue those bookings. 

*A friend of mine was on Jeopardy recently.

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