Paul Krugman’s Freaky Anne Hathaway Fantasy

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Originally posted at NewsReal’s That’s What She Said

Every time news coverage of actress Anne Hathaway spikes, so does Berkshire Hathaway stock. At least, that’s the fantasy Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman promoted on his New York Times blog this weekend.

Why? The claim is that it’s the fault of robotrading algorithms, which now account for most of the market, and which sometimes rely among other things on trends in news coverage.

That’s the kind of dumb mistake human traders wouldn’t make. Unfortunately, they’d make other kinds of dumb mistakes.

“I, For One, Do Not Welcome Our Dumb Robot Overlords,” writes Krugman.

Where’s the evidence that Berkshire Hathaway shareholders are at the mercy of a half-baked fleet of starstruck retard-o-bots? Krugman cites The Financial Times, but the original source of this bizarre story is Huffington Post blogger Dan Mirvish, a media hoaxer the New York Times once called “a senior fellow at the Institute of Nonexistence.” On March 2, Mirvish wrote:

On the Friday before the Oscars, Berkshire shares rose a whopping 2.02%. And on the Monday just after the Academy Awards, they rose again, this time 2.94%. But it’s not just an Oscar bounce, or something Warren Buffett may have said in the newspaper, or even necessarily something the company itself is doing (i.e. rumors afoot to buy Costco). Just look back at some other landmark dates in Anne Hathaway’s still young career:

Oct. 3, 2008 – Rachel Getting Married opens: BRK.A up .44%
Jan. 5, 2009 – Bride Wars opens: BRK.A up 2.61%
Feb. 8, 2010 – Valentine’s Day opens: BRK.A up 1.01%
March 5, 2010 – Alice in Wonderland opens: BRK.A up .74%
Nov. 24, 2010 – Love and Other Drugs opens: BRK.A up 1.62%
Nov. 29, 2010 – Anne announced as co-host of the Oscars: BRK.A up .25%

Yes, the fearsome Hathaway Effect is based on eight dates in a two-year period analyzed by a professional media manipulator. But … but … studies show! Yeah, one “study” of a handful of data points.

I know, Paul. Markets are confusing, and math is hard. It’s been a while since you had to memorize all that information about sample sizes and correlation vs. causation for Stats 101. And it sure can be a hassle to RTFG. Fortunately, The Motley Fool cleared this up nearly three weeks ago:

Berkshire’s stock most certainly was up on Oct. 3, 2008, but there was more than an opening for Anne going on. Just two days prior, the stock had jumped almost 5% after Buffett got a dandy deal on perpetual preferred stock from General Electric (NYSE: GE ) .Meanwhile, on Feb. 8, 2010, did Anne Hathaway’s movie push up Berkshire’s stock? Or were investors anticipating the heavy buying from index funds that would be forced to add Berkshire to their holdings after it replaced Burlington Northern Santa Fe in the S&P 500?

The March 5, 2010 gain we can write off even more quickly, since the S&P gained nearly double Berkshire’s jump that day. What good is the Anne Hathaway signal if the stock still underperforms the rest of the market?

And of course, all good Fools know that the weekend of Feb. 27, 2011 something happened that was much more important than the Oscars — the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder letter was released. My wild guess is that the stock gains that Friday reflected anticipation about the letter, while Monday’s pop was due to Buffett’s bullish outlook in the letter.

Now run along, Paul, and check the inside of the fridge to see if a tiny Anne Hathaway turns the light on when you open the door.

The Barefoot Contessa Hates Cilantro … And Children With Cancer

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Originally posted at NewsReal’s That’s What She Said

I always thought there was something a little off about Ina Garten. The woman substitutes basil for cilantro in her chili recipe. What kind of animal does such a thing?

This kind:

The “Barefoot Contessa” star allegedly turned down a request from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The foundation reportedly tried to contact the celebrity chef twice on behalf of a six-year-old boy suffering from leukemia who wanted to cook with her. And twice they were rebuffed.

Garten reportedly blew off the first request due to her busy book tour schedule. But 6-year-old Enzo decided to wait, skipping the chance to have another wish granted by the foundation. Bad choice, kid:

We’re told the organization went back to Ina this year … but her team responded with a “definite no” … once again, citing scheduling conflicts.

A member of Enzo’s family says the 6-year-old is heartbroken … and asked parents, “Why doesn’t she want to meet me?”

Ina Garten can’t spare 10 minutes to teach a dying kid how to stick Nilla Wafers in a dish of banana pudding? Maybe whip up a little guacamole? (Hold the cilantro!)

Of course, The Contessa has been swamped for ages, what with entertaining celebrity friends like Alec “my daughter is a ‘pig’” Baldwin, writing checks to Obama for America, and hosting Planned Parenthood Benefits at her home.

The 9 Most Asinine Statements by Vile Harpy Joy Behar

Originally published on November 7, 2010 at David Horowitz’s NewsReal

by Jenn Q. Public & Lori Ziganto

———

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It came as quite a shock to the leader of one women’s organization when Joy Behar, ostensibly a comedian, called Sharron Angle a “bitch” on the “The View” last month. Sonja Eddings Brown, president of The Kitchen Cabinet, told The Daily Caller, “We thought Joy Behar was a classier act than this.”

To which we responded, “Ha ha ha ha ha!” followed by, “HA HA HA HA HA!” When our laughter-induced wheezing subsided — and we’re not gonna lie, there may have been some giggle-snorting — the idea for this post was born.

Before the obligatory lefty panty bunching begins in response to this post’s title, you should know that it’s not the first time we’ve been called mean girls and name-callers, and it won’t be the last. But we have refrained from calling Ms. Behar the b-word, and that gives us exclusive claim to the high road here.

Also, we’re bloggers, not holier-than-thou television “personalities” who get off on squawking about how we’re better than you because we vote Democrat. And we may have had a couple of beers while writing this post. Our readers are important to us and we’re willing to go the extra mile. For you.

So, with all of the fanfare a class act like Joy Behar deserves, we bring you her 9 most inane statements, the ones that should have even the Left shuddering in embarrassment. (Yeah, we’re not holding our breath either.)  Read more

No, Kevin Smith is Not the Rosa Parks of Our Time

Rosa Parks and Kevin Smith, no comparison

This week, I wrote a piece for NewsReal about filmmaker Kevin Smith getting tossed off a Southwest Airlines flight because the crew determined he was to fat to fly in the single seat he had purchased.  I enjoy Smith’s films and think he’s a talented writer, but his huge sense of entitlement rubbed me the wrong way.

After making the case that flying is a privilege, not a right, I wrote:

Right now we only have Kevin Smith’s side of the story, and it’s unclear whether the flight attendant used appropriate discretion in approaching him about her safety concerns. I certainly have no desire to see an overweight person shamed for being fat, and I hope that wasn’t the intention.

But a little personal responsibility goes a long way. If Smith had simply paid for a second seat as required by airline policy, he could have avoided the embarrassing situation.  And according to Southwest’s “Customer of Size Q&A,” there’s a 98 percent chance the price of the extra ticket would have been refunded.

Smith went on to complain that because of the airline’s “size-ist policy” he was “being profiled.” I guess flying while fat is the new breaking-and-entering while black.  Beer summit, anyone?

You can read the rest at NewsReal.

The piece received a lot of traffic, and comments were pretty evenly divided on the issue.  Several people made the case that the airplane, owned by a private company, was actually public transportation (thus proving my point about people feeling overly entitled.)  One of those comments was particularly despicable:

According to your unscrupulous logic, Rosa Parks should have moved because it was the Bus drivers choice. Like you said – public transportation “is a privilege, not a right”.

Yes, this person actually had the gall to equate a hero of the black civil rights movement with a fat celebrity demanding that he be allowed to potentially compromise the safety of other passengers on a private airplane.

There’s no comparison between Rosa Parks and Kevin Smith. It just isn’t there.

And you know what else? Being fat isn’t the same as being black.

I can’t believe I had to write that. This is why I don’t spend too much time reading comments – if you’re not careful, the trolls will make you lose your faith in humanity.

Judging Meghan McCain

Freedom of speech is guaranteed to all Americans.  Freedom from judgment is not.

Consider the great décolletage debacle of ’09.

Meghan McCain threatened to delete her popular Twitter feed Wednesday night after receiving a torrent of comments about the revealing photo she posted.  Although many reactions were complimentary, some were negative and offensive, calling the Daily Beast columnist a “slut” and admonishing her for displaying considerable cleavage.  She wrote:

so I took a fun picture not thinking anything about what I was wearing but apparently anything other than a pantsuit I am a slut, this is … why I have been considering deleting my twitter account, what once was fun now just seems like a vessel for harassmentI am going to take some more time to think about it but seriously I was just trying to be funny with the book and that I’m a dork staying in … when I am alone in my apartment, I wear tank tops and sweat pants, I had no idea this makes me a “slut”, I can’t even tell you how hurt I am

Calling Meghan McCain a slut is infantile and idiotic no matter how skimpy her tank top.  It’s a nasty, overused pejorative that only reflects poorly on people who fling it around. Much like calling a woman a mashed-up bag of meat, it has no place in polite discourse.

But Twitter isn’t prime time television and there’s no promise or expectation that every interaction will be polite. For the famous and infamous, it’s a vicious celebrity gauntlet, not a genteel afternoon tea party.  Every tweet, every Twitpic, is an open invitation asking other Twitter users what they think of you. And sometimes they think you’re a slut.

Meghan McCain knows this.  In fact, that’s why celebrities like McCain use Twitter.  It’s a gargantuan, interactive global advertising platform offering unlimited promotion for the low, low price of $0.00.

I’ve followed Meghan McCain on Twitter for the better part of a year.  She’s done a brilliant job of building a large following she can leverage to promote her upcoming book.  In part, she does well with Twitter because of her penchant for oversharing, and for spitting invective at conservative bloggers and commentators.  She’s not afraid to dish it out, but can she take it?

Apparently not.  And that’s fine.  No one is forcing Meghan McCain to endure the trials and tribulations of fame.  Living in the media spotlight requires a thick skin.  Hell, even writing a blog with open comments places you in the line of fire.  Whether it’s your ideas or your body, when you put yourself out there for the world to see and hear, you’re going to get criticized.  A lot.  Plenty of it will seem unfair, and some of it will make you want to bring up your lunch or crawl back into bed.  Right or wrong, good or bad, it’s the price we pay for participating in the marketplace of ideas.  There’s no invisible rider on the First Amendment that promises to protect the thin-skinned from vile and demeaning criticism.

I’d love it if no woman had to suffer the stinging indignity of having her virtue called into question based on the size of her breasts or the way she dresses.  Been there, done that, and it sucks. If a public figure like Keith Olbermann had something foul to say about Meghan McCain, I’d be dialing up MSNBC to complain.  But there’s not much to be done about lonely strangers tweeting insults as they masturbate to the thought of Meghan McCain crying into her cleavage. She can ignore them or ridicule them, but they’ll always be there.

Meghan McCain has two choices: toughen up or drop out.  Expecting the world to stop judging her is not an option.

Update: Sister Toldjah and The Other McCain link. Thanks!

Hollywood Royalty and the Embrace of the Vampire Polanski

The reaction of Hollywood’s narcissistic bubble-dwellers to the arrest of Roman Polanski underscores the stark divide between moral relativists willing to romanticize the degeneracy of an artist and the rest of us. The capacity of these entertainment and media industry elites to justify, excuse, and minimize Polanski’s cowardly sexual violation of a vulnerable child is breathtakingly loathsome.

“It was something else but i don’t believe it was rape-rape,” insisted Whoopi Goldberg.

“Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion,” explained Harvey Weinstein, proud signatory of the Free Roman Polanski petition.

“We stand by him and await his release and his next masterpiece,” offered Debra Winger in a statement that criticized authorities for using “minor technicalities” to cause the suffering of the whole art world.

Polanski’s defenders plunged themselves headfirst into the sand, ignoring the plea transcript, refusing to consider his own flippant assessment of public reaction to his crime:

If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But… f—ing, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to f— young girls. Juries want to f— young girls. Everyone wants to f— young girls!

Among those who have signed the “Free Roman” petition, the sexual predator is the victim, and the innocence and security of a single child stolen in an act of forcible sodomy is a price worth paying for the creation of art. They are unwilling to see Polanski any other way because it would challenge their insular, elite beliefs about the world:

Considered a genius, unencumbered by morality and the complete opposite of what Americans have long considered the ideal, Polanski challenges society in real life the way Dracula challenges Victorianism in Stoker’s novel. Were they better read, they would perhaps see Polanski not as the Gary Oldman version of Dracula, a tortured loved-starved creature punished by a hostile and puritanical God, but as I see Polanski. He is like the Don Juan of Tirso de Molina’s The Trickster of Seville, sinister, spiteful and ultimately damned. But to see that in Polanski is to look past the European trappings and artistic prestige, and to see the man as equal to all others and thus worthy to be judged. This is a step these self-appointed elites cannot take, lest they admit they too can be judged by their true equals, their fellow Americans.

We have our own royalty in America, the celebrities we build up and tear down as part of our entertainment industry. But there is something seductive in the royalty of Old Europe, the idea that a person could be considered worth more than another and never really have to prove it. We all have such pretensions if we admit it, and the best of us cast off this burden to meet the world and all in it as equals, and rise and fall according to our abilities, our sweat, and our blood. Polanski represents for some the easier way, the illusion of class and worth, the comforting lie of elitism. For those who embrace that outlook there is no action too wicked to defend if it props up the lie and reinforces the artificial distinctions between us.

Especially if it happens to those of us they consider beneath them.

Read the complete Dracula analogy in the Red Alerts piece, Elitism, Europhilia, and Roman Polanski.

Big Hollywood has the names of every morally bankrupt Polanski supporter who signed the “Free Roman” petition, as well as a counter-petition for those in the entertainment industry who believe Polanski should be held accountable for his crime.

In addition, The New Agenda has organized a boycott of all films the pro-Polanski “signatories have directed, produced, acted in or otherwise participated.” A Jail Polanski Petition is available on The New Agenda home page.

Have Hollywood elites finally alienated those who line their pocketbooks?

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