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By David Vance On May 10th, 2019 at 7:21 pm

WPLJ Radio Signing Off

By Phantom On May 10th, 2019 at 6:40 pm

New York City FM radio station WPLJ is going off the air at the end of the month. The new owner will play Christian music.

The news stings, but it shouldn’t. I’ve not listened to it since forever. Neither have many others.

Back in the seventies and eighties, WPLJ was one of the ” album oriented, progressive ” stations here that would play better, longer ” rock ” songs, and which would sometimes play an entire album. This was a huge, welcome change from what was before them. Top 40 radio, played on the AM band, with the poor audio that AM gives you.

As rock declined, so did stations like WPLJ. I am told that their advertising revenue in 2017 was a bit more than 33% of what it was in 2010. No future in that.

The larger picture is a terrestrial radio medium in rapid decline. The biggest driver of new radio listeners is music, and very many young people and others get all their music from Spotify or other streaming services now. Teenagers barely know what a normal radio is now. I only listen to standard radio when in the car.

WPLJ is owned by a big company called Cumulus. Cumulus also owns WABC AM locally.

WABC AM I think used to be the most profitable radio station in the US. They have a massively powerful signal, which at night you can hear in much of the eastern US. I heard it in Illinois one winter night. They were a rock and roll station with massive ratings for years. When their audience started leaving in large numbers for FM radio and its better signal, they shifted to an all talk radio format in 1982. This was a smart strategy, and WABC made a fortune for years with the new conservative talk format.

But now talk radio is itself in major decline. WABC ad revenues and ratings are way down.

The primary reason for all these changes I believe is technology. If you can live without a DJ, Spotify is better than any radio station. You can listen to talk radio on podcasts/streaming.

High speed internet makes a lot of unforseen things possible. The radio we grew up follows paper newspapers into decline, much faster than anticipated.


By Patrick Van Roy On May 10th, 2019 at 2:49 pm

On this day 150 years ago, in 1869, the Golden Spike was hammered in at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory, creating the First Transcontinental Railroad. The new rail line linked the established railways of the eastern United States with the rapidly expanding railroads of the West, and made transcontinental travel via train a reality. Need some context? The alternative at the time would be to traverse the nearly 2,000-mile stretch between Omaha and San Francisco by horse, wagon, or your own two feet. With rail travel now an option, America’s westward expansion was suddenly in high gear.

I think that makes this song apropos

A Showboat to China

By Mahons On May 10th, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Do you think Trump’s Tariff move against China is less an economic policy and more a manifestation of wall envy?

China’s economic games have long been a sore spot but I’m not certain tariffs are a sound counterpunch. Certainly conservatives have long been opposed to such tactics as government interference. I am sure in the Trump Era (error?) they will stand on their heads and say otherwise.

The economy is going along ok so the usual warning bells arent sounding the usual alarm. A tempermental guy who apparently lost Carl Sagan money running casinos into the ground may not be the best judge of business steps, but few in his party are going to say the emperor has no clothes. And the other party isn’t suffering from an overabundance of deep thinkers at the moment.

Calvin Coolidge once said the business of America is business and I hope the President starts listening to some of the leaders there. We are borrowing enough from the future as it is.

Racist ” Joke ” Directed at Newborn Baby

By Phantom On May 9th, 2019 at 8:08 pm

All here probably have heard about the controversy by now.

Is this really supposed to be funny, or edgy in some way?


By David Vance On May 9th, 2019 at 2:03 pm

I am sure that you, like me, are deeply concerned about the rise of “right-wing terrorism”. Have a look at these stats…you can see WHY the politicians are so concerned about the “right wing”…


Amazon Go

By Phantom On May 8th, 2019 at 4:38 am

Today, Amazon opened a new physical Go store in NYC. It’s in the World Financial Center, on the other side of the Trade Center.

These are stores without checkout counters. You show an app on your phone as You enter, select your goods, then walk right out.

I walked over to pick up an early sushi lunch. I was in the store for 30 seconds.

This store is small. They sell pre made sandwiches, sushi, drinks, chips.

It joins other locations in Seattle and Chicago. But they have huge ambitions – there is talk of 3000 more Go stores in two years.

People hate to wait in line in department stores, a big reason for the success of Amazon’s online store. I don’t want to wait in line at a food store either.

I want to see one of these in every airport I travel to. When traveling I don’t want foo foo food in 15 minutes. I want OK food right now.

The best defense against online shopping could be physical stores like this.

Amazon is one of the best world companies, led by a great builder and thinker. Never bet against them.


By David Vance On May 7th, 2019 at 10:18 pm

By Tony Morrison

May 7th 2019

The American public were utterly dumbfounded this week as they watched live on TV the spectacle of numerous senators and congresspersons refusing to accept the stone cold facts that President Trump did not collude with Russia, or even obstruct justice in the commission of a non-existent crime.

Why? Folks like Senators Blumenthal, Harris, Booker and Congresspersons Nadler, Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi all have in common the inability to express much of a coherent train of thought and, maybe not coincidentally, they all have liberal arts degrees.

This is fuelling the growing belief that there is no point to a liberal arts degree and the Republic would be better served if these majors transformed into something more useful such as robot construction engineering.

This belief has been given legs by the ongoing college admissions scandal.  An FBI probe into US college entrances has shown that Chinese oligarchs, Hollywood types and assorted chattering class members were prepared to pay as high as $6.5 Million to cheat little Johnny’s or little Zhao’s way into college.

Yusi Zhao studying for her finals!

But, funnily enough, it was only prestigious liberal arts colleges, or schools of universities, that are the target of the cheats.   No-one wants little Felicity to go to MIT or CalTech. The obvious conclusion is that the scam has nothing to do with academics, just societal bragging rights.

A member of the Elite wishes to show his child is superior (and his parents superior to you Mr. & Mrs D. Plorable) by getting into colleges that have both a low acceptance rate, such as Stanford, Yale, Harvard, and a liberal arts course of studies. As they know their kid will not be up to it academically, the parents will not want any maths or engineering nonsense.  And they can’t have the little treasures failing as this will ruin the “my kid got into Swanky U” boasting.  So they want the kids taking only “gut courses,” i.e., undemanding college courses that can be passed with saying anything.  Hence liberal arts only.

But can this be really true?  What are these schools like these days?  Luckily for me, it was easy to find out as my home state Connecticut is the epicentre of East coast preening liberal arts university schools and colleges.  And as luck would have it, the local papers are full of what is going on at a nearby elite representative of the type – Trinity College, Hartford. 

Trinity has 31 liberal arts majors, of which 13 are “studies,” the giveaway statement that there will not be much studying going on.  It is the 11th most expensive college in the nation and will cost you north of 60 grand a year to go there.  These last few weeks the campus was rocked with student and faculty weirdness that certainly did not strike many as giving value for money.

A new group at Trinity, the Churchill Club, has been formed by some young conservatives.

Conservatives are thin on the ground down Ivy League Way, but they are a cheerful and kind bunch.  Two years ago, graduate students at Yale went on a hunger strike about something or other and the conservatives were nice enough to set up a BBQ next to them! But niceness doesn’t cut it these days.  The Club is  “dedicated to the preservation, dissemination and extension of the Western moral and philosophical tradition.”  Well, we can’t have any of that said the student body en masse and proceeded to demonstrate in large numbers.  As no real work is needed for many studies majors, large numbers were assured.

The “Justice 4 Marginalized Students” group drew up the charge sheet against the bemused supporters of free speech and the rights of the individual. Churchill said a few bad things about Indians, Julia Gorka is a member (her father is Sebastian Gorka an ex-Trump aide, so suspected orange nastiness involved) and western tradition is code for “white supremacy” in a parallel universe.  The group’s name is kind of weird seeing as how a liberal arts major will set your parents back a cool quarter of a million.  A better name would be “Justice 4 Upper Middle Class Highly Advantaged Students,” but of course this would not fit on a placard.

So the students hate diversity of thought, especially that which has enriched the entire fabric of the USA and has made it the richest and most successful nation in the world.  But what of their faculty?  It’s not good.  Faculty member Professor Johnny E. Williams was also recently in the news, a professor given to sharing his scholarship in angry social media rants rather than lectures.

He celebrated this Easter Sunday by tweeting “all self-identified white people (no exceptions) are invested in and collude with systemic white racism/white supremacy.” Earlier tweets in April specified that “whiteness is terrorism,” and accused all and sundry of being white, including, rather curiously, President Obama and Michelle, who need a “good ol’ ass kicking.”

This wasn’t as bad as two years ago when Williams had to take a leave of absence after advancing an academic theory on Facebook that in accidents first responders should “let them (white people) f***king die” as they are “inhuman assholes.”  For this trailblazing line of research, Trinity awarded him tenure as soon as he came back from his leave!!

Well, you can’t argue with the experts.  His profile shows his teaching and research areas include white supremacy/systemic racism. He must know what he is talking about and I am sure his students are grateful for his expertise.  But wait, what’s this?  In evaluations, his students think he is prone to classroom rants and his grading is totally random.

A Chinese Oligarch is prepared to put a $6.5 Million price tag on his child’s liberal arts education.  But perhaps certain Democratic politicians are the only ones bold enough to really comprehend the exact value of such a degree these days – zero point zero.  All leading candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination, except Buttigieg, believe college should be free.

If we ignore the fact that “free” in Demspeak means someone else will pay, and restrict the free stuff nonsense to liberal arts, they may have a point.

(Ed note: Mr Morrison has both undergraduate and advanced liberal arts degrees.  None of the above applies to him as he learned to code on leaving Uni.)

Declare The Pennies On Your Eyes

By Mahons On May 7th, 2019 at 12:57 pm

For all his happy hippy Hindu-babble and sitars George Harrison probably wrote the most materialist capitalist complaint of the rock era when he penned Taxman.
That irony pales in comparison to the House Democrats efforts to obtain President Trump’s tax returns. I agree with the Treasury Department that there is no convincing legislative purpose for their effort. Their request, technically legal, is transparently partisan. The Administration should resist.
Do I think that thete is embarrassing information in the returns? Certainly. Do I think the President should be compelled to produce them as fodder for his political enemies? Certainly not. It is a side show.
It has become a farce. Like Chico Marx claiming he had an Uncle in Dollars, Taxes under the cross examination of Groucho Marx in Duck Soup. There is no need for this Congressional tangent. There is more important work to do. Squabbling is not that work. Especially when it serves no legitimate purpose.

May we have those notes…. No….

By Patrick Van Roy On May 6th, 2019 at 1:26 am

The video speaks for itself….. AG Barr being questioned about Mueller’s Letter. 5 min well worth the watch.