Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications By Richard R. John (Belknap Press, 520 pp., $39.95) Once upon a time, some thought it obvious that competition was a bad thing, particularly in communications. As Theodore Vail, the president of AT&T, put it in 1913, “The public as a whole has never benefited” from competition. Monopoly, he said, was the better choice. The reason, he argued, is that “all costs of aggressive, uncontrolled competition are eventually borne, directly or indirectly, by the public.” Nowadays corporate executives carefully avoid expressing such sentiments.
LinkedIn is the name on everyone's lips today on Wall Street. The business-focused social networking site announced it will be offering shares at an initial price of $45, with LinkedIn valued at $4.3 billion. Some market watchers think the price is too high, but others believe LinkedIn could lead another round of big internet IPOs. (When the company initially announced its IPO, observers expected a valuation of $2 billion, and in early May LinkedIn was still predicted to be valued at $3 billion; in the past week, the IPO price has gone up $10.
“You know her,” Debbie Harry croons in the song that plays over the opening credits to Bridesmaids. “Her,” in this case, is Annie (Kristen Wiig), whom we’ve just seen, in the movie’s first scene, having bad sex with a pretty-boy cad (Jon Hamm) and then sneaking into the bathroom at the crack of dawn to reapply her makeup so that he’ll still find her attractive when he wakes up.
-- Michael Kazin unloads on Mitch Daniels. -- The strange fall of Sarah Palin -- The new Civilization game on Facebook sounds awful
The Republican presidential race is fast resembling World War II baseball, when 4-Fs roamed the outfield, the ball lost its bounce because of the rubber shortage, and sportswriters found it hard to imagine that any team could win the World Series.
Bridges and streets. The neon like candy. Brake lights blooming in rain. Rain. Concrete. Long live the concrete of cities. Spoon. Chair. Bed, bread, and stitch. This language of the house. Blond light across the mirror. Soap. Salt shaker. The ginger of you. The cream of you. The eyes and bones. The scratch-and-sniff of you. The back. The back of the hand. Crickets and prairie. The trees standing like husbands. The gold grass moving, the pelt of earth. The fence-posts like souls. Lunch at midnight, dinner at breakfast, graveyard and swing. Machine that is the father’s pet.
This morning, news broke that social-networking giant Facebook has signed a deal with Chinese search engine Baidu to develop a Chinese social networking service. The deal is a winner for both sides: Facebook is currently blocked in China, while Baidu has been unable to translate its dominance of the search engine market into similar success in social networking.
As Muammar Qaddafi wages war on his own people, whatever international support he once enjoyed has almost entirely dried up. The first to go were his powerful friends in Great Britain; former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who helped rehabilitate the Libyan dictator after he surrendered his nuclear weapons program in 2003, privately urged him to step down.
With a government shutdown likely looming, many Republicans are concerned about the precedent set in 1995 and 1996, when Bill Clinton, then in power, bested the GOP in the politics of two shutdowns. But some conservatives believe that there’s a big difference in their favor this time: the media context, namely the existence of Fox News. “Quite honestly, the major newspapers had a stranglehold on political news in 1995. Now you have cable on both sides,” freshman Congressman Todd Rokita told The New York Times.
One of the great things about libertarians is that, constituting a trivial share of the electorate but a non-trivial share of the political intelligentsia, they are constantly coming up with outside-the-box proposals to increase their political power. So Bryan Caplan proposed (on Facebook, via Will Wilkinson) that libertarians take over by boosting their fertility rate. Wilkinson rejects the plan but gives it some thought: Now, the evidence for the heritability of personality is mixed. If it turns out to be low, the logic of Bryan’s libertarian eugenics is busted.