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Jihadists Seize on Mosque Protests

"The holy war is heating up: Islamic radicals are using the protests against the Islamic center near ground zero for their propaganda, according to The Wall Street Journal. 'When it comes to propaganda, extremists are pure opportunists,' one official says. 'They'll use whatever they can.' Another counterterrorism consultant says, 'We are handing al Qaeda a propaganda coup, an absolute propaganda coup'" [from today's Daily Beast Cheat Sheet].


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Glenn Beck accused of communism

Jon Stewart caught Glenn Beck in an inconsistency last Monday night (surprise! surprise); it was reported—with video included—on the Huffington Post thusly:

Glenn Beck... used his appearance at CPAC as a chance to alert the crowd of the dangers of Progressivism.

At the conference, Beck compared Progressivism to Communism, and cited previous progressives such as Woodrow Wilson and FDR, who pushed for the income tax and universal health care, respectively.... Beck stressed that these were the first steps on the road to ruin.

Upon hearing Glenn Beck announce that he learned this by reading books at the library, Stewart had some choice words for the Fox News host: "Glenn, the library isn't free! It's paid for with tax money. Free public libraries are the result of the Progressive movement to communally share books.... Community owned? That sounds just like communism. You're a communist!"


Nipping innumeracy in the bud

Ed Zotti, who may or may not be the same person as Cecil Adams, published an article in The Straight Dope earlier this month. An avid reader of this column, I immediately spotted a big problem and wrote to Ed. He asked me—through an intermediary—to post it on the Straight Dope message board under the Questions, Comments for SD Chicago/Paulina St. Journal Columns section, which I did this morning:

Dear Ed,

The article, "One in a trillion", shows two graphs, one of hard disk drive capacity and the other of the national debt. In inviting comparison of the two ("Need I say more?"), you commit the grave mathematical sin of intimating that graphs on logarithmic and arithmetic scales can be visually compared by the mathematically unsophisticated. I'm sure you know this is NOT TRUE! I invite you to clarify and amend.

Hugh D. Hyatt
Willow Grove, PA

~ Afflictions are the good man's shining times. — Edward Young ~
Ed responded this afternoon:
This is a dagger to the heart of my analysis.
One nice thing about both(?) Ed and Cecil: they own up to their mistakes.


Why is NBC f*#@ing up Olympic coverage?

On Tuesday Henri Blodget, in his blog at The Business Insider, asked six sets of questions of NBC about their television coverage of the Olympics:

1. Why do you delay events that are much more exciting to watch live?

2. Is the evening audience much bigger than it would be if you showed the events live during the day? How much bigger? Wouldn't you be able to make up the difference by showing the event live on one of your other networks during the day and then showing highlights on NBC at night?

3. How much money would you lose (or do you think you would lose) if you showed the events live on a subsidiary network and then showed highlights again in your prime time broadcast?

4. Do you expect people to avoid the news all day until you show the events in primetime, or do you not care that everyone knows who won?

5. Is the decision to show events on tape-delay a relic of the days when the Big Three networks ruled the world?

6. Do you care that sports fans from coast to coast are furious at you? How do you factor this into your long-term brand-value calculations?

Personally, I'm not a big follower of the Olympics, but I think this is a good set of questions and I'd love to see NBC's answers.

BTW, Mr Blodget is also CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Business Insider.


R.I.P. Walter Frederick Morrison

It was perhaps the least useful spin-off of the Space Race. But Walter Fredrick Morrison watched his invention, the Frisbee, glide through more than 50 years of success before his death this week.

[Via today's Daily Beast Cheat Sheet.]


The Known Universe

From the American Museum of Natural History, via NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for today.

Frequently using the Digital Universe Atlas, every object in the video has been rendered to scale given the best scientific research in 2009, when the video was produced. The film has similarities to the famous Powers of Ten video that has been a favorite of many space enthusiasts for a generation.


Fake News Gets Real

Fake news shows like The Daily Show are sometimes criticized for not being accurate sources of information. But last night Jon Stewart gave by far the most cogent and sensible—not to mention funniest and most apoplectic—commentary I've come across on the position in which Barack Obama and the Democrats find themselves in the face of losing Ted Kennedy's former Senate seat to the Republicans.

The whole segment is worth watching, but the final 3½ minutes, which neatly summarize the Democrats' predicament, contain the essence of it.

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