Shoot the Messenger

Recently a fairly well-known country music format radio consultant Keith Hill spoke his mind – stations that play more male country music stars had higher ratings than those that played a higher proportion of female country music artists.

I have no knowledge as to whether he’s right or wrong, though he said he had the numbers to back that observation up. He added that according to his research, women generally preferred male artists which is what really pushed the numbers to one side. He said that when his clients lowered the female quotient in the mix, their ratings went up.

Well, as you can imagine in this age of there-are-things-you-just-can’t-say, the cow dung hit the fan, or rather hit the consultant.

Nobody wanted to debate the guy. Nobody had their own equally detailed research on country music listening preferences and ratings. Nobody wanted to say that at their station, with plenty of women in the lineup, they were satisfied with their ratings or they ruled the local roost. Nope. The messenger had to be shouted down, with the implied response that what he said simply couldn’t be true because… Something.

Nobody offered to say, “Well, that’s your opinion and I think your wrong,” and then walk away.

Hill’s being accused of “discrimination.” Obviously some people don’t understand the definition of discrimination. Or, possibly more likely in these days of dumbed-down social intelligence and discourse, they’ve stretched their definition of “discrimination” to mean pretty much “anything that doesn’t benefit them.”

Country music artist Martina McBride snapped at him from her Twitter redoubt (Can I say ‘snapped’ in the same sentence with a woman these days?). Then she made the brilliant point in an interview that famous female artists were, well, famous, and many had had hit records, therefore Hill must be wrong.

Miranda Lambert issued a few expletives. Nothing like perpetuating that “emotional” woman stereotype.

Jennifer Nettles, best known for fronting Sugarland, had to insert her “vagina” into the argument, as if that somehow settled the argument. She offered nothing else.

And other female artists, some with hits and some obscure kept throwing out the names of female artists with a hit record or two and thought that somehow was convincing.

The context of Hill’s point was that there were female artists who had great records and hits but on a larger scale, if you want better ratings, when you modify a playlist it would be better to lean to marginal male artists over marginal female artists.

Such fine points never matter to the mob.

All that was missing was a chain of hand-holding female country musicians surrounding Ryman Auditorium and singing “We Shall Overcome.”

Country Music Television Senior Vice President Leslie Fram should have had enough sense to stay out of the pissing contest but she had to take sides. She stated that it was “just not true.” She failed to provide any counter evidence other than simply invoking it.

But what if he’s right – at least for now? Ooooh, can’t think that… Why, why, that just wouldn’t be fair…

Hill has so far stuck to his guns, “We’re trying to get the biggest possible audience… We’re not thinking about gender fairness, we’re just trying to make money.”

I’m sure we’ll soon be treated to Mr. Hill in a proverbial sack cloth begging forgiveness for hurting anyone’s feelings and pledging to not only burn his research but insist that his clients play more female artists.

Why do I think that if Hill had said that stations playing more female artists had higher ratings no one would have said anything? Or possibly that if he had said that playing male artists brought ratings down he’d be lionized as speaking truth to power; he was leading the “brave new wave and future of country music, more women!” NPR would cluck; he might even get a profile in the New York Times as breaking down the Grand Ole Opry glass ceiling with supportive quotes from Gloria Steinem, Sheryl Sandberg, Sen. Barbara Boxer and Elton John (none of whom have any idea who Hill is).

Do people really believe that music sales break down exactly along gender lines or exactly at 50-50? Seriously? If you divide any group activity like sales along two points, it’s highly likely that one side will be larger than another. But math and stats are hard (and I say that as a liberal arts grad).

After her hissy fit (can I say ‘hissy fit’ in the same sentence as mentioning a woman?), Lambert stumbled onto something, wholly by accident. “I am gonna do everything in my power to support and promote female singer/songwriters in country music. Always.” Good for her. Do it. That’s what the free market is all about. Put your money where your mouth is. Support what you like. Maybe you’ll discover some great female artists. There are plenty of unknown but deserving artists of both sexes out there.

But how is that much different than what Hill said?

I guess some sexism is more acceptable than other.

Here’s my pitch – Martina, Jennifer, Miranda, et al, you gals have some money between you and you’re completely convinced in your beliefs, right, so buy a radio station or two and program nothing but female artists or mostly women. If you draw well, sit back and count your bucks. You’ll be satisfying a market need and that’s what it’s all about. I personally tend to prefer female singers myself.

And if your station brings up the rear, admit you were wrong and then shut up. I don’t mean completely shut up, just concentrate on singing.

Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Hey, girls, here’s a question – how come there aren’t any unattractive young (and middle age) female country music artists? Just asking…

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How Do These People Keep Their Jobs?

According to this post at Hot Air, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Washington Post reporter Jonathan Capehart said he was shocked to see Hillary Clinton “underwater” in some recent polls. (Underwater in this case means higher unfavorable ratings than favorable ratings.)

Can he be serious? Hillary Clinton is one of the most polarizing people of the last three decades. Capehart is a high-profile writer for one of the top newspapers in this country. He can’t believe Hillary Clinton is more disliked than liked? If he is that clueless, and he supposedly covers politics for a living, how does he keep his job? How do his bosses justify keeping him employed (other than as a toilet scrubber)?

I know, he’s a loyal liberal soldier, doing everything for the cause.

Just another day inside the Liberal Bubble.

Ben & Jerry’s First Amendment Crunch

I’m not big on boycotting companies, especially considering politically offensive actions are usually made in corporate suites by searingly hypocritical corporate officers who will feel little of the boycott while the in-the-trenches workers will suffer the most. But sometimes you have to put your foot down – especially in these days wherein the left has made almost every moment of our daily lives and every molecule of our being into a political battlefield.

Ben & Jerry’s makes some tasty ice cream but it is also long-known to be a politically correct bellweather – even after its acquisition by ubercorporation Unilever (That’s right, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield sold out to the man!)

Anyway, recently Ben has become intimately involved in shutting down political speech he doesn’t agree with. He’s heavily funding the loathsome MoveOn organization’s loathsome campaign to “amend” the Constitution to modify or eliminate (basically the same thing at this point) that pesky First Amendment.

He says that he’s merely “reclaiming our democracy” by getting “big money” (like his) out of politics. He would seem to have a strange definition of “democracy” if it involves shutting some people up by making their “speech” illegal. (But then, he is a liberal…)

Exactly how one gets “big” money out of politics via emasculating the First Amendment is always left a bit fuzzy in these liberal proposals – one of those classic acts of liberal invocation – simply insisting that something is or will do the job. Obama lives this way.

However, Ben is completely misunderstanding that the whole point of the freedom of speech movement (looking back to its modern origin in John Milton’s time) is that you can put your money to work saying what you want without having to get permission from a governmental body (royal, federal, state, local or elected or self-appointed busybodies). Money is the milk of free speech. You have to have money to buy the press or buy time on the press. It’s not that kind of “free.”

For reasons I’ve never grasped, the left (actually only many of its naïve foot soldiers – its leaders know exactly what they are doing) seems to think that it can remove all money from the system and that somehow the system will still function… and that it will present nice speech that they and everyone fully agree with, including hate speech monitors, feminists, the Gaystapo, activist Muslims, and others of the professional victim class.

You know, lately, I’ve been thinking “we” should eliminate “big” money from “big” ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s does that “free cone” thing one day a year, right? Well, I think every day should be free cone day. Free ice cream for everyone – all the time!

Of course Ben’s already gotten his millions so it wouldn’t really hurt him that much but as his buddy the president says, some people have already made enough money and don’t really need to make anymore. I bet Ben would go along with that… maybe not. He then wouldn’t have money to spend on all his favorite lefty causes.

I’ve never bought any Ben & Jerry’s and certainly will not ever knowingly buy any, ever.

Helo Waste

From my home high atop palatial Arlington Ridge, a stone’s throw from the Pentagon, and my office a few miles away in the Edsall Park area of Fairfax County, I daily watch a parade of military helicopters — Blackhawks, Hueys and Chinooks, along with the occasional Osprey, fly by. Some will land at or depart from the Pentagon, others I know not where they go or from whence they came. There are a number of military installations to the south of where I live and work.

They follow I-395 and I-95 at least to Springfield. If these birds are flying to, say, Ft. Belvoir or Quantico, it brings up the question – why don’t the passengers drive to these places if they are coming from the Pentagon? They are only a few miles further south, well within 20 miles of the Pentagon. Yes, it is faster to fly and avoid the traffic but there is a cost involved.

I also think some of this traffic is Congressional and VIP in nature since Ft. Belvoir is the home of the 12th Aviation Battalion, which “provides rotary-wing movement to the DoD and Congress,” according to Wikipedia. Ahem.

The aircraft I speak of aren’t cheap. It can cost several thousand dollars an hour to keep one of them in the air; especially when you factor in the maintenance costs. Helicopters are high maintenance. They have to be overhauled after every few hundred hours in the air.

On a given day I might see half-a-dozen fly by. Not long ago three Ospreys flew by my office. Very impressive, looked like something out of a movie, but the amount of money those birds were consuming isn’t chicken feed. (Though I have to admit that I don’t think the Ospreys are putting down at the Pentagon so it might be a longer trip.)

Do these people really need to get wherever they are going that quickly?

And even if these trips are longer range than I think, in these days of digital communications and videoconferencing technologies, do all of these people shuttling around need to be attending in-person?

We could save some money here. Probably not millions but almost certainly six figures. Or, maybe across the U.S. it would add up to millions of dollars saved. Shouldn’t an expensive luxury like a helicopter flight be reserved for emergencies, high priorities and battlefields?

Liberals cluck that such meager savings aren’t worth the effort. Even a few conservatives such as Ramesh Ponnuru have made the same argument (though he makes it for another reason). But I challenge them to write that six-figure check. It might not be millions but the several thousand dollars I paid in federal taxes last year are likely consumed in a single day of these helo flights. How many taxpayers does it take to keep these air limos flying, 24/7, 365 days a year?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…

RINO Hunt

I was never a big fan of Rep. Denny Hastert. The Illinois representative was also Speaker of the House during a period roughly coinciding with the W years. He seemed to me just another Illinois liberal Republican. When in need of political muscle and firepower he’d suddenly talk a lot more conservative than he really was. Then he’d stiff the conservatives who had backed him up.

But he also seemed like a nice guy, most of the other times.

It was something of a surprise today to hear that he was indicted for withdrawing money from his bank account in a manner that the federal government doesn’t like. Believe it or not, that actually is a crime. It shouldn’t be. It’s designed to catch drug dealers and their money launderers but no one is accusing Hastert of drug dealing or money laundering. It just happened to be a handy weapon to get Hastert.

He was also tripped up on lying to the FBI about the withdrawals – similar to a perjury trap. The final disturbing part of this is that the legal activity is coming from that municipal paragon of virtue Chicago. Don’t they already have enough crime in Chicago to keep these people busy rather than running around wondering why Denny Hastert is withdrawing large sums of HIS OWN MONEY?

Having said that – there is something going on with Hastert. It does look like he was paying someone off. Not sure why that is considered a crime – if it doesn’t involve initial criminal behavior – but it apparently is.

I still don’t like criminalizing financial transactions of a certain amount – unless you get the blessing of the feds.

And She Gets Away With It…

As Yogi Berra supposedly said, “It’s deja vu all over again.”

The Hillary Clinton fibs about her State Dept. email continue the traditional Clinton pattern.

These diaphanous defenses that they trot out are almost always blatantly false and rely on a news media that incredibly takes them seriously. If such nonsense was uttered by a Republican, the news media would “flood the zone,” rifle through them and deploy an army of “fact checkers” to knock them down But for a transparently absurd defense like the one Mrs. Clinton deployed, they shrink back and look everywhere but at the elephant in the room (the elephant sitting on their chest!).

Take for example the number 60,000 emails that Mrs. Clinton offered up. Let’s do a quick back of the envelope calculation, something any reporter could do in a matter of seconds – if they wanted to. Divide 60,000 emails by 1,500 days (roughly the amount of time [four years] that she was Secretary of State – it’s 24/7 job). And you get the number 40. Divide that in half because Mrs. Clinton has said that only half the emails were “official State Dept. business.” So she is saying that the Secretary of State for the United States of America, the biggest and most powerful nation on the planet, gets only 20 emails a day? Seriously? That’s all? I can get that in a busy hour at my job.

How about this howler? She said that she didn’t use the State Dept. email system but rather only used her private server for emailing because she’s easily confused, but she also said that she never used it for any “classified” emails. So she’s telling us that in four years of work, the Secretary of State for the United States of America, the biggest and most powerful nation on the planet, got not a single classified email? Not one?  Not a single “Talking Points for Secret Negotiations” email? No “CIA Briefing on Iranian Involvement in Middle East Terror” emails? Nothing “For Your Eyes Only”?

It’s like catching the kid with the cookie jars locked onto both hands and one on his head yet he sits there denying he ever put his hand in a cookie jar. In fact, she insists there are no cookie jars at all. The brazenness is unfathomable.

But they get away with it again.

The simple fact is that Mrs. Clinton has committed at least one nonviolent felony – purposeful destruction of government records. And these aren’t the records of a minor bureaucrat in the Dept. of Twine Quality. The Secretary of State is effectively the top bureaucrat.

Furthermore, it wasn’t her call or the call of her minions as to what to turn over to the State Dept. She had to turn it all over. State Dept. records people would decide what needed to be kept.

In addition, it’s laughable that the “server” was “wiped” clean. Unless the IT person putting the system together was told specifically to do it the wrong way, they would have built a mirroring RAID system. That means that multiple hard drives would have been constantly backing up the system. They would have had to wipe multiple drives or the RAID system would have allowed for reconstruction of the email archive. It’s also likely that they were backing up “off-site” for additional redundancy.

In a day of cheap hard drives and storage, the concept that the emails are lost is ridiculous – unless they were purposefully trying to hide something. Why wipe them? The hard drives should have been pulled and set on a shelf in case anyone needed to look at them later; maybe years or decades later. What about all those future Clinton scholars that will want to study her? What about the future Hillary Clinton Library – won’t it need source material? (Stop laughing!) Shouldn’t the National Archives be chiming in on this?

If they deleted the files from those drives, it was because they were hiding something.

Yet she gets away with it.

Can you imagine the furor if Dick Cheney had done this or a Republican currently occupied the White House and trotted out this nonsense? CNN would be running with it 24 hours a day. The networks would be running specials with titles like “Crisis at the White House.” Several MSNBC hosts probably would have stroked out by now. Hill Democrats likely would be demanding heads, if not immediate impeachment or resignation and the MSM (newspaper division) might actually hire little kids to hawk their “Extra!” editions on the streets in a flashback to the good old days.

But it’s the Democrats so any news at all comes out grudgingly and promising avenues of investigation are mysteriously abandoned for other things (Hey, didja hear? Marco Rubio bought a $3,000 refrigerator! He’s some crazy kind of spender! – Washington Post)

Mrs. Clinton’s behavior could have been predicted. If you remember back when the Clintons were occupying the White House they were caught red-handed (without consequences as usual) on one scandal (Filegate perhaps?) when the emails they thought they had deleted were recovered off of the backup drives within the government IT system. They learned their lesson this time and had a “private” server so they could control the entire chain of evidence.

This whole episode didn’t happen by accident.

And she gets away with it.

Because someone had to say it