Hertz Drops a Libel Suit

A tip of The Audit’s green eyeshade to Aaron Elstein and Crain’s New York, which seems to have gotten some results after shining a light on the hardball legal tactics of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. and other financially troubled corporations that sue stock analysts in response to negative financial reports. In October Crain’s reported that Hertz, based in Park...

School Of Hard Clicks: Will Web Video Take Over Higher Education?

ben-stein-ferris-buellerHoward Lindzon thinks it might. Over on his blog, Lindzon, who does have some investments in online educational video startups, waxes poetic about how the scalability of web video will give rise to Kobe Bryant-like teaching superstars, give students better educations, and maybe force a few thousand “mid-level hacks” out of their jobs in the process.From howardlindzon.com:

Does it make any sense for 5,000 teachers around the country to teach the same college algebra or macroeconomics course every semester? Of course not. Obviously, if you could take a class from Greg Mankiw or Tyler Cowen why would you resort to taking a class from some mid-level hack (assuming prices were similar)? The only reason 5,000 teachers are regurgitating the same subject in 5,000 separate classrooms around the country is because as little as a few years ago we didn’t have the technology for thousands of students around the country to learn from the same professor.

To wit: here’s a lecture by MIT’s Walter Lewin on torques and oscillating bodies, courtesy of Academic Earth:

Not everyone is thrilled by the prospect of such a transition. One commenter had a lively back-and-forth with Lindzon, accusing him of being “the Walmart guy that advocates crushing mom and pop stores” by scaling moderately talented non-superstar professors out of existence.” Lindzon, typically, was evasive and a little mischievous. Responding to the analogy “if you can watch the most beautiful video online, why have sex with your own wife,” he wrote, “Its not the same analogy. Its definitely a choice.”

(via Howard Lindzon)

Bill Simmons Makes Triumphant Return To Twitter After Suspension

simmons_12-1After serving a suspension from Twitter by ESPN, Bill Simmons returned yesterday to the social media site and tweeted up a storm.

Interestingly, much of it coincided with ESPN’s Monday Night Football game between Simmmons’ New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints – the seemingly perfect venue for both sides.

If the suspension was really two weeks, as has been reported elsewhere, that would mean it began November 16. Since that time, Simmons has only tweeted about his book tour, and that ceased completely on November 21. But early yesterday morning, @Sportsguy33 was back.

It began with an old-school WWE YouTube clip (see below), that acknowledged the suspension, and ESPN’s lifting of it. Following that, a joke he’s probably been waiting to throw out there for a few days:

After Mrs. Tiger broke Tiger’s SUV window to “save him,” did she perform CPR by strangling him with his ‘97 Masters jacket?

But the majority of the tweets took place during ESPN’s broadcast of the NFL game. There was a joking jab at ESPN’s announcers…

Vegas over/under for times “What a GREAT throw!” will be gushingly yelped by Jaws/Gruden tonight: 28 1/2. I banged the over.

…and a shot at Sirius:

Every Sirius primetime ad is like watching a buddy who just got crushed in blackjack inexplicably start doubling his bets.

In the end, a defeated Simmons summed up the dismantling of his Pats by Drew Brees and the Saints:

Drew Brees was Pacquaio + the Pats D was Miguel Cotto. That was a shellacking. I am shellshocked. Congrats to the good people of N’awlins.

ESPN has long maintained it wants to embrace social media, but in ways that are beneficial to the network as a whole. There have been hints of that since the policy was leaked back in August. In this very glaring instance, ESPN capitalized on both the game on their network and the new media pull of one of their biggest stars, simultaneously. It’s a recipe for success.

Now as long as The Sports Guy doesn’t start blasting WEEI again…

This is how Simmons returned:

» Follow Steve Krakauer on Twitter

The White House and Politico: Enough to Make You [Sic]

As Greg mentioned last night, Politico—or, you know, “the POLITICO”—has published a particularly Politicobnoxious piece entitled “7 stories Barack Obama doesn’t want told.” (One such ‘story’: Obama suffers from “what the French call amour-propre.” A phrasing, at any rate, that the French might call “full of merde.”) In response to the Politico piece, certain White...

Tiger Woods, Obama On Golf Digest Cover Together (PHOTO)

Tiger Woods and President Obama share the cover of the January issue of Golf Digest with a cover story titled, "10 Tips Obama Can Take From Tiger."

The cover comes amidst the biggest scandal of Woods' career, and as Obama is set to address the nation on his decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

The two have enjoyed a close relationship, with Woods calling Obama's election "incredible," participating in his pre-inauguration ceremonies, and visiting the White House.

See the cover:

Bill Maher Talks Afghanistan, Banking Rates, And Tiger Woods (VIDEO)

Bill Maher appeared on The Jay Leno Show Monday night, and discussed current events, including the Tiger Woods media frenzy, and the imminent troop surge in Afghanistan.

"I thought the whole cowboy-liberator dreamworld was over, but this is more sameness I can believe in," Maher said of President Obama's Afghanistan strategy.

Of the Tiger Woods debacle, Maher said, "What a bunch of vultures the media are. Who has not left their house at 2:30 in the morning and crashed into their neighbor's mailbox?"


Michael Wolff: Old Newsmen Never Die…And the White House Party Crashers Weren’t Working Alone

There is a club in the West 40s in Manhattan which includes among its members many old newsmen who, curiously, have sworn, on pain of expulsion, never to utter its name in the press--a quaintness by which I will abide.

I had lunch yesterday, in the members' dining room, with one of my favorites, back in New York for the holidays from his retirement home in Florida. This is what old newsmen talk about:

The world will be in sorry, sorry shape when newspapers die, cautioned my friend, who edited one of the most storied papers of the age. Still, it is true, he admitted without too much hesitation, that newspaper men are not so bright and newspapers, in terms of the journalism they produce, are, generally speaking, pretty piss-poor. Still, without at least the best papers, as a nation, we will be poorer.

But, speaking of piss-poor, the Times had become little more than worthless. Flash! he said, shaking his head in disgust about a weekend front-page story: More people use food stamps in a recession. The paper was ill-edited, flaccid, boring...the front page, metro, culture, the Sunday magazine, all had lost their way. His voice began to rise. And here was his real zinger: The Times, he said, with incredulity, had dumbed down the crossword puzzle. He could finish it in pen, with no fudges, twice a week now--in its heyday, he couldn't do that more than a few times a year.

Murdoch's Wall Street Journal was, he said, simply better than the Times!

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