Bad Decision Making & This American Life

My continued fascination with decision making and the long term impacts of bad decisions is well documented in this weeks This American Life.As always, Ira Glass weaves 4 beautifully crafted acts together to discuss ‘The Fall Guy’, that person whose life changes dramatically based on an act that they may or may not have committed.Act 2, with Lynndie England is especially good.This American Life.

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Loyal ‘Simpsons’ Fans Fetch Higher Ad Rates on Web (Update1) – Bloomberg.com

Great article in Bloomberg on how the Simpsons are getting a 50% higher CPM on Hulu rates.

Marketers typically pay $20 to $40 per thousand viewers for a prime-time ad. On Hulu, which began offering shows to the public in March 2008, an ad on the animated series “The Simpsons” costs $60 per thousand viewers, Michael Nathanson, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. wrote in a June 18 report.

I’ve always loved the Simpson’s. The cast and crew consistently delivers awesomeness and while it hasn’t been as good as it was in their hey day, it is still pretty wonderful.A personal favorite clip:Loyal ‘Simpsons’ Fans Fetch Higher Ad Rates on Web (Update1) – Bloomberg.com.Hat tip to Paul Kedrosky.

Why I’m Boycotting the Super Bowl

I’m boycotting the Super Bowl this year.For one, I really don’t care.  I’ve never really liked professional football and I’ve always felt that it was a huge drain on society.  I know so many seemingly smart people that love nothing more than to spend 8 hours on a beautiful Sunday, neglecting their families, yelling at their television and getting insanely passionate about something they have absolutely no control over.  It makes no sense to me at all.But that isn’t the main reason.  If it were that alone, I’d probably head to a neighbors house, have a couple of pops and enjoy the commercials.  This year is different, though.To me, the Super Bowl reflects everything about the wasteful exuberance that has put this country in the shitter and I don’t feel like supporting that.Well over 60,000 people lost their jobs this past week alone.  Think about that for a bit and then reflect on how many people live in your town.  60,000 people lost their jobs this past week, yet millions will watch genetic freaks beat each other over a ball while making more money on Sunday than most of those 60,000 will in a whole year.With credit markets completely in the doldrums, 75,000 will shell out an average of $2,000 a ticket.  For those doing the math, that is $33 a minute of playing time.  While it is a broad assumption, I’m guessing that most of the 75,000 going to the game don’t have the $2,000 for a ticket plus another $2,000 for hotels & parties so they are charging it.  Awesome instant gratitude, CapitalOne culture we have become.With the recession killing off jobs at an alarming pace and a 16-year high unemployment rate of 7.2%, it is utterly appalling to me that as a nation we would support an event that charges $6M a minute for advertising.   $100,000 a second. I’ve always felt that any CMO that runs a Super Bowl ad should be drawn and quartered by his / her shareholders.  By running a $3M 30-second spot, you are essentially flaunting your wealth.  You are saying ‘Up yours Joey Newly Unemployed, we just spent $3M on a 30-second spot (plus $2M+ production) to sell you beer with CGI Clydesdales.  Go drown your sorrows’.While your pounding back that watered down, over priced to make up for the marketing budget, American beer, go to Monster.com or CareerBuilder because they are spending a combined $9M designed to ‘drive traffic to the site’.  Well hells bells.  Any ad agency that pitches this concept should be fired.  There is a 7.2% unemployment rate WTF are they going to find when they get to the site?  Guess I’ll drink more beer.So no. I can’t bear to watch it.  Call me curmudgeonly.  Tell me it is just fun and escapism and that these companies have a right to run ads and generate revenue off the game.  You’re right on all accounts, but as you are watching the game, think of all of the people who lost their jobs over the past 6 months and compare that to the exuberance of the event. You’ll see why I’m boycotting.I’ll be at the beach.

Please Explain Your Unwavering Love of the GOP to Me

Dear Middle America,My spirits were crushed this morning when I saw the following image on the front page of the New York Times:

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For the last 8 years, you have been beaten like an unwanted dog by the current administration.  Yet you still come back.These are your children that have gone off to an unwarranted war.These are your children who face the prospect of going to Iran.These are your residents that have been scared of the prospect of terrorism, when in all reality, a heart attack is much more likely and preventable.These are your jobs that have been shipped overseas.These are your dams, bridges, levees that have been left untended.These are your residents that have been neglected, without care, when the levees broke.These are your homes that have been sent to foreclosure.These are your children enduring a failed education system.These are your residents with no health care.These are your savings accounts that have been wiped-out while your debt and cost of living has risen.These are your children and grand children who will have to pay for the repercussions of a soon to be $12 trillion deficit, a war torn Middle East, a collapsing environment and a global economy that will have no problem leaving America behind.And like a dog who get’s kicked regularly, left outside on a short chain with nothing but scraps, you keep coming back, tail wagging.  These states regularly support this party with unquestionable allegiance.  Why?Is it religion?Is it race?Is it a fear of globalization?Is it taxes?Is it the war?Please, help me understand why, after 8 years of getting kicked in the head, does the middle of this map still appear to support the GOP in such a way that this race will be close?  How can you support a party that insults you and treats you like peasants?There is a big, beautiful world out there.  A world where you aren’t a Joe Sixpack that will vote for any lipstick anti-librarian just because she has great legs.  A world where your family is important, your health is important, your home is important, your job is important, your future is important.  You are important.It has potential to be a really amazing place.  Come check it out.

Demand Equity

As of late, I’ve been pretty pissed about the whole idea of a bailout, but I understand why it is needed and tend to agree with the it under the right circumstances, which are yet to be determined. I read the Motley Fool a lot. In fact, a few years ago, I won an award for being the biggest Fool. I was stoked. Today I got a letter (spam) from the guys at Fool discussing the bailout. The letter was short and concise, but the action item couldn’t be more specific: demand equity. If the tax payers are floating the funds for this bailout, than the tax payers should get paid back when it is successful.Some might agree that this is part of the problem and how we got into this situation, but it seems like the only just solution.

Dear Fools:We need your help.Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has put together a plan that is actively under debate and allows the Treasury to invest in assets that are crushing bank balance sheets. We view this plan as being an important step in allowing the global financial system to recapitalize itself. We agree with financial intellectual titans Warren Buffett and Bill Gross, as well as both presidential candidates, that the Paulson Plan needs to be passed and will benefit Main Street.We believe that if the Paulson Plan is done correctly, American taxpayers will profit not only from the return of lending capacity to our banks, but also from these troubled investments. However, the plan should embrace the tenets of free-market capitalism. The government should demand equity stakes in the banks.We think taxpayers deserve to benefit from a deal soundly rooted in free-market principles. We, the undersigned, encourage you to call the people who represent you in the House and Senate and demand that the approved deal include provisions for equity ownership. Go to www.house.gov and www.senate.gov to find the phone numbers for your elected representatives.Finally, even though these are extraordinary times, we stand by our belief that the best way to build long-term wealth is through equity ownership. Just look at who is doing a lot of buying of late — Warren Buffett.We encourage you to take a few minutes — now! — to call your elected officials and let them know that there needs to be an equity component for taxpayers.Onward,Tom Gardner, CEO and Co-Founder, The Motley FoolScott Schedler, President, The Motley FoolBill Mann, Senior Advisor, Motley Fool Hidden Gems, Pay Dirt, and Global GainsP.S. We have opened a discussion board where Fools can gather to talk about this important issue. Please come and share your opinions.

Where’s the Passion?

I was listening to Carly Fiorina tonight on the way home from work. It was really, really boring. I’ve heard more passion from my kid about finding bugs. I hated this speech. There is nothing there. On the radio, there was even less.Fiorina is supposed to be getting people excited about voting for McCain, instead, she simply reads off the teleprompter much in the way that I would read a speech I’ve never seen before and didn’t really care about my performance.

Joe Lieberman was slightly better, but still has that annoying 3 – 5 syllable and pause speech pattern that everyone in both conventions has. He makes a few, well scripted jokes, but for the most part, the speech was dull and predictable. In other words, it was clear he was pulling from the teleprompter, and while I believe that he believes his own bullshitake, he didn’t really do a great job of conveying it.
Speakers at the DNC did a slightly better job in conveying their passion for reform in this country, but I suspect that the aura of Barack generates passion from speakers. Nancy Pelosi did a pretty decent job, but still doesn’t get me doing cartwheels.
Hilary Clinton, also did a fairly decent job
It seemed like she deviated from the teleprompter slightly, but I still don’t get the same warm & fuzzy passionate feelings that I got from this:
I don’t know, maybe it was the slides, but in the end, Steve is more passionate about selling a 3G iPhone than any speaker I’ve seen at either DNC or RNC selling why I should vote for their party.And that’s just sad.