“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Oil, War, Recession, Fuggedabodit, This is Real News

Leno to reportedly stay at NBC, move to prime time
2 hrs 8 mins ago

NEW YORK – NBC reportedly has signed its late-night star Jay Leno to a contract that will keep him at the network and move him to prime time.

Under the new deal, Leno, whose "Tonight" show hosting job will go to Conan O'Brien next June, would have a new show airing 10 p.m. Eastern every weeknight, according to The New York Times.

The deal reportedly will be announced Tuesday.

The arrangement would enable NBC to hold on to Leno, who might have jumped to a competing network, and even been on the air as a rival to O'Brien.

It also stands to significantly reduce programming costs for the struggling network, which has long been No. 4 in the ratings and last week laid off 500 employees. Leno's five-a-week talk-variety format would be considerably cheaper to produce than most scripted dramatic series.

This "strip" scheduling is common other times of the day, but seldom seen in prime time. Such a money-saving move was foreshadowed Monday by NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker in remarks during an investor conference in New York. He said the network would have to consider scaling back the number of hours it airs programming.

Leno, who took over "Tonight" from Johnny Carson in 1992, is effectively being evicted from its anchor desk under a deal NBC announced four years ago that guaranteed the job to "Late Night" host O'Brien.

Aimed at keeping O'Brien at NBC, the plan also guaranteed the network five more years of Leno's services at 11:35 p.m., where he continues to reign as late-night ratings champ. But it put NBC in danger of losing Leno, whose future subsequently became a matter of much speculation. His farewell as "Tonight" host is next May 29.



  1. Leno's news story is about as important as whether Britney Spears decided to not shave again...

  2. In 1959, he was criticized for his interview with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Later that year, during the show's regular swing through the West Coast, Paar again made the front pages of the national newspapers by asking a visibly-inebriated Mickey Rooney to leave the program during the December 1st telecast. Two years later, he broadcast his show from Berlin just as the Berlin Wall was going up. Paar also engaged in a number of public feuds, one of them with CBS luminary Ed Sullivan, and another with Walter Winchell. The latter feud "effectively ended Winchell's career", beginning a shift in power from print to television.[1]

    We haven't had a decent late night host since Jack Paar

  3. That bank robbery scene was funny as hell.

  4. hehehe top o' the mornin' to ya

    Illinois Gov. Blagojevich, chief of staff, arrested.

    It's the new politics promised to us by the Zero.

    Wanted A Little Money For This and That

  5. A Senate seat is 'A fu**ing valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing'...

    Ain't that the truth. House seats are going up in value too.

    Here in my district, the winner had over $2 millions dollars of his own money into it.

  6. During an intercepted call...

    During an intercepted call...

    During an intercepted call...

    from the indictment

    You know, some of these people are just dumber than shit. You'd think they'd know not to do business over the phone.

  7. Just HOW dirty is Obama?

    Let's sit back and watch the show unfold...
    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha


  8. He's a Chi-town shyster, how much more is there you need to know?

    To late, now, to address that. When it was addressed, prior to the election, it got no traction.
    Nothing has changed, but the road is even slicker.

    Ms Ruby red slippers, living in her fantasy land while eatin' & sleepin' at the Y. Everyone dies, THAT is God's will.
    When they die, that is another thing, all together.

    I'd give up 30 million of them, for 30 of US, any day of the week.

    God is on the side that writes the histories. Always has been, always will be.
    Ask any rightous Zorocaster.

    Odin and Mars, they both agree, rightously.

  9. They never read the 'Godfather', bob.

    Thought they'd learned all there was to know, from the movies.

    Obviously the prime suspects did not believe that GW Bush really had created a 'Police State' where their calls would be monitored and recorded. Warranted or not.

    They just knew they were 'Above the Law'

  10. I couldn't have said it nearly as well---

    7. Morton Doodslag:

    I hardly think Blagojevich has lost his mind — Stated more directly, the entire edifice of “Chicago politics” is so utterly and grotesquely corrupt that Blagojevich simply doesn’t perceive he was doing anything wrong. Business as usual. Of course that’s no excuse for these brazen shocking anti-American actions.

    If a republican candidate had emerged from a similar cesspool as the “Chicago Machine” which Obama emerged from, we would already be reading about impeaching the President Elect before he assumes office. But since it’s the Anointed One, the Press won’t link or associate their darling with the human sewage with which he played, or the sewer from which he emerged and comfortably swam in for many years. That same sewer spawned all the Rezkos, the Blagojeviches, the Ayerses, the Rev. Wrights, the Farakhans, the Khalidis, the Fr. Flaegers, but the American Press will refuse to make the obvious linkages with Obama and his cabal, for that would be “playing the ‘guilt by association’ game”, wouldn’t it?

    America has been betrayed.

    Big day here, gotta go, have a good day, folks.

  11. Detroit’s Second Trip to Washington: Still Not Very Efficient
    By Libby Rosenthal

    General Motors’ chief executive, Rick Wagoner, emerging from a Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid car after driving from Detroit to Washington last week to ask Congress for an auto industry bailout.

    As I watched the chief executives of the Big Three American automakers drive to Washington to plead for a bailout last week, I could not help noticing the gas mileage of the “fuel-efficient” vehicles they used to make the trip from Detroit — designed to demonstrate their green good will.

    Robert Nardelli of Chrysler drove his company’s Aspen Hybrid S.U.V., which gets 22 miles a gallon on the highway and 20 in the city. Alan Mulally of Ford drove an Escape Hybrid S.U.V. — 31 m.p.g. on the highway and 34 in the city. And Rick Wagoner of General Motors drove a Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Sedan. His was the most efficient on the highway, averaging 34 m.p.g., but only 26 in the city.

    What’s wrong with this picture? For starters, although these vehicles may be hybrids, by any real-world standard they are not particularly fuel-efficient. Hybrid technology can only do so much to improve the gas mileage of a huge, heavy, overpowered car.

    A reality check for those who would like to compare: The Toyota Prius — a hybrid — averages 48 m.p.g. in the city and 45 on the highway. Here in Italy, the popular and highly praised Fiat Grande Punto (not a hybrid) can get nearly twice the gas mileage of Mr. Nardelli’s car — 41.5 m.p.g. in the city, and 56.5 on the highway, depending on engine size.

    Writing earlier this year at the Web site The Truth About Cars, Justin Berkowitz noted that G.M.’s vice chairman for global product development, Bob Lutz, has claimed that meeting the new federal fuel economy standards included in the 2007 energy bill would cost the consumer an additional $6,000 per car, on average.

    “That seems a bit of a strange statement,” Mr. Berkowitz wrote, “as there are already plenty of cars capable of besting the freshly-minted mandate. From Japan to Jerusalem, from Mumbai to Milan, the world is filled, and filling, with suitably fuel-efficient passenger cars.”

    Of course, driving a comparatively gas-guzzling hybrid S.U.V. 500 miles still beats flying in a private jet — the mode of transport chosen by all three for their initial round of testimony.

    But it still shows how far American automakers — and American drivers — have to go to match what’s being done elsewhere around the globe.

    Interesting to read the comments related to the article, and the total lack of goodwill towards these management fscks. Where's the political mandate for the US gov to give these management fscks any money, that's what I want to know.

  12. December 9, 2008 1:37 am

    The CEO’s of the auto industry aren’t in the business of making cars; they’re in the business of making money. This explains why they’ve been pushing gas guzzlers for the past 5 years, even after everyone else saw the handwriting on the wall. Economical cars means less profit per unit.

    They all deserve to be tossed out on their rears. They have enough money to last through many generations of their progeny. We no longer see the value in letting robber barons run U.S. corporations. Let them go the way of the Edsel.
    — Barbara

  13. December 9, 2008 3:22 am

    "Still Not Very Efficient"? Spare me.

    Anyone who thinks this was anything but a PR stunt (and a ham-handed one at that) is missing the point entirely. Look rather to the Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain who still wants his $10 mil bonus before he leaves, while Congress bails out his company.

    The auto guys are paying lip service to "efficiency" in the hopes that Congress actually takes them at their word, desperately hoping for a bailout so they can stay in long enough to suck a little more cash out before they themselves can bail, nothing more.
    — pakaal

  14. Where's the political mandate for the US gov to give these management fscks any money, that's what I want to know.

    It's your green coercion, mat. You supposed to feel all warm an cuddly.

    Saw an electric motor scooter yesterday. Thought of you.

  15. Anyone who thinks this was anything but a PR stunt (and a ham-handed one at that) is missing the point entirely.

    It's the green revolution, mat.

    rat would say, "...learn it, live it, love it..."

    It's green? Well, then it's good, donchaknow.

  16. Japan taps Better Place for electric car charging
    from Green Tech by Martin LaMonica

    Japan's Ministry of the Environment announced a program on Tuesday to test electric vehicles and a network of charging stations, some supplied by auto start-up Better Place.

    The electric vehicle feasibility study will give local governments access to 50 electric cars for several months. Cars included are Mitsubishi Motors' iMieve, the Plug-in Stella from Subaru, the Honda Clarify fuel-cell vehicle, and the Erezo electric motorbike under development.

    Better Place will install battery exchange stations in the trial. The deal in Japan is similar to those made recently with several countries, the city of San Francisco, and the state of Hawaii that have signed on with Better Place, which has developed a system to accelerate electric car use through battery leasing and automated swapping.

    The trial is part of Japan's national goal of having electric cars make up half of all new vehicle sales by 2020. The program will also include a facility for rapid car battery charging.

    Automakers say they need an infrastructure, such as charging stations in public places, for their electric car programs to take hold.

    The first electric versions of familiar sedans from the likes of Nissan and others will start becoming available in 2010, but they will largely be used for testing. Broader availability of these cars will be in 2011 and 2012

    Learn it, live it, love it!


  17. In four years, 2012, if all goes according to plan, there will be a few of these cars available, for lease in Israel, Japan, Hawaii and San Fransisco.

    Pretty neat, for technology that does not exist outside the lab, today. And a long way from 10 million units per year, which would not even match last years auto sales, in the US.

    For the program to work the three million vehicles in Israel have to replaced in a pretty tight window of opportunity, as I recall.

  18. dRat,

    You wouldn't buy a cellphone without the cellphone towers transmitting wireless signal, and the same logic applies here. They are rolling out the network, the cars will follow. But I appreciate your skepticism.

  19. For the program to work the three million vehicles in Israel have to replaced in a pretty tight window of opportunity, as I recall.

    You recall wrongly. The cars pay for themselves within less than 4 years. The infrastructure pays for itself thru higher tariffs on imported gasoline cars. Sign up for a 4 year contract and receive a free car with unlimited mileage included.

  20. Only if, mat, they reach a critical mass, in the number of cars that they service.

    They were speaking of capturing 10% of the 200,000 vehicle Israeli market, by 2012, or 20,000 vehicles per year. Or the project will fail. If the car is a lemon, the project fails. If the car does not transport the family, the project fails. If the batteries overheat, the project fails.

    I live in the town that put a Bricklin on the Police fleet. We've known our share of blue sky business planners. There are many, many variables and no guarentee of success. If the best available car, today, is the terrorist Tango that you posted the other day, the project will fail.

    Maybe not in Israel, but everywhere else.

  21. dRat,

    I agree that this is still an industry in its infancy. We're treading uncharted ground. Many thing can go wrong, and probably will. Still, I'd rather we move forward than stay where we are now.