Ann Coulter now has barbed little items on the right side of her site. The first step down a steep, slippery slope at the bottom of which is ... a blog. Or something like it. ... Today she gets in a good cheap shot at Sullivan's predictably antiheteronormative Edward Heath obit. ... Kf says: Go ahead, slip. ... 11:47 P.M.
They Mean to Win Wimbledon! Was China's currency revaluation really just a diplomatic concession to U.S. pressure? Snarksmith has another theory. He notes that every 2% upward revaluation makes it 2% easier for Chinese firms to buy struggling American consumer brands, with all the name recognition and retail networks that come with them (a strategy Slate's Dan Gross has described in more detail).... And what's the most famous American brand that's struggling right now? Not the L.A. Times. (Sorry, Chicago. The Chinese aren't that stupid.) General Motors. A Chinese outfit, Snarksmith notes, could pick up GM for a mere $20 billion. Make that $19.6 billion. Then they could start selling Chinese-made vehicles alongside U.S.-made vehicles in U.S. dealers! I'm not sure American consumers would mind. They buy plenty of well-made Chinese products at Wal-Mart. ... P.S.: China, as a socialist country, would surely act only in the interests of Detroit's unionized workers! ... P.P.S.: Actually, of course, a GM bid would set off a giant defensive political reaction. But why are we assuming that the Chinese are trying to cool tensions? ... 11:13 P.M.
Supreme Court nominee John Roberts appears to drive a Chrysler PT Cruiser. This may be the scariest thing I've heard about him. ... An ugly, immature attempt at returning to an earlier era! Is that what the Constitution will look like after Roberts is through with it? Probe this issue thoroughly, Sen. Schumer! 12:10 P.M.
CW on John Carroll's departure from the L.A. Times: Editor of Pulitzer-winning paper tragically steps down because budget cuts and layoffs imposed by the paper's Chicago owners threatened his ability to produce quality journalism! (See, e.g., here and here.)
Kf's alternative perspective: Carroll made the LAT a better paper--or, rather, he made it a paper and not a cargo cult going through the motions of putting out what it thinks is a paper! To his credit, he realized it sucked when he took it over. And he hired Kinsley. But how conventional and dumb (and paleoliberal) is it to judge a newspaper by the amount of "resources" devoted to it? A smart editor, faced with a giant bureaucracy filled with pleasantly plodding holdovers, would have realize that layoffs are his friend. Massive layoffs, preferably! Get rid of the soul-killing middle management mediocrities--you have a good excuse, "the evil Chicago people made me do it"--and you could rebuild the place with fresh talent and make it great. ...
P.S.: In today's NYT, incoming editor Dean Baquet comes off like a bit of a Chicago-pleasing opportunist for saying (in Katharine Seelye's paraphrase)
that perhaps 70 percent of what he wanted to accomplish could be done without more money.
This actually seems like a refreshing sign that Baquet may be focused on output and not input. ...
Personal Angle #1: Baquet's Beggars! Circulation at Carroll's Times has been falling rapidly (6-8 percent in a single year). The paper has become less oddly compelling as it's gotten better--a B+ NYT. The day before Carroll quit, I got a call from an LAT telemarketer informing me that even though I'd cancelled my subscription they were "going to start" delivering the paper on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and maybe Thursday, I forget) for $1.50 a week. I said no, I didn't want that. They said 'OK, just Sunday then," or words to that effect. I said no, again, louder this time. There was a click. First time I've ever been hung up on by a telemarketer. They may be desperate, but at least they're rude.
Personal Angle #2: I learned the LAT was a gold-plated bureaucracy in the mid-80s when a friend who worked there wondered if she should take her son in to the company infirmary to get a free flu shot. On a Sunday. ... I'm sure plenty of fat has been cut since then, but it seems quite possible there's just a bit left. ...
Update: Jonathan Weber on Carroll's alibis and the paper's destructive and distracting quest for national prizes--and East Coast approval--even before Carroll arrived with his Pulitzer obsession. ("[J]ust entering the damn contests was practically a full-time job.") 12:42 A.M.
The news lede from Wonkette's recent Los Angeles Zocalo talk concerned a conversation she said she had with Sen, John McCain, in which the latter offhandedly suggested we were in fact losing in Iraq. ... P.S.: I've always mentally contrasted Sen. Chuck Hagel's pessimism on Iraq with the non-pessimism (on TV chat shows) of his friend McCain. But maybe Hagel is functioning as McCain's Deep Throat, voicing the views a GOP presidential contender can't affford to articulate himself. ... 11:00 P.M.