Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Springtime for Hitler and Rebecca Black

Spring is here, and there's a new teen sensation starting to take over from Justin Bieber. The teen in question is 13 year-old Rebecca Black. Her song Friday and its associated video are the talk of the internet. There are at least a half dozen Hitler commentary videos and nearly that many dramatic reading videos on youtube.

There are a couple of things that I find interesting on this. How come when they get up in the morning it's broad daylight, and when my kids get up it's freaking dark? Since when is a 13 year-old allowed to drive a car, much less a Chrysler Sebring convertible? By the way, I actually don't think the song is that bad. The lyrics are inane, but they are no worse than Birthday by the Beatles. Anytime a 13 year-old does something other than play COD all day, I'm for it. In an effort to keep my scores of readers cuturally literate, I shall embed.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Chrysler 200 Controversy
His review excised, the reviewer exits

Scott Burgess has been the main auto reviewer for the Detroit News for at least as long as I've been reading it online. It looks like they are going to need a new reviewer, because Scott Burgess resigned after his online review of the new Chrysler "Imported from Detroit" 200 had had negative remarks edited out of the online edition after a local dealer complained about the initial online and print edition. has been covering this story like it is major news, like the latest what what involving Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan.

I read the before and after reviews, and I personally think that the editing helped the review; albeit long after the the editing process should have been completed. If you want to form your own opinion, here's a link to the current version of Burgess's review, titled "2011 Chrysler 200 falls short of the competition." The gist of Burgess's review is that the 2011 Chrysler 200 is improved over its predecessor, the Chrysler Sebring, but it isn't improved enough to match the other major competitors. I have had no first-hand exposure to the 200; in fact, I haven't even seen one in person. Our local dealers didn't even get them in until about a month ago, and availability is still tight. For a second and very contrasting opinion on the 200 here's a link to a review at the Chrysler fanboy site, I personally think the Allpar review is more informative and comprehensive.

The sad part is that Scott Burgess is capable of writing excellent reviews, and he usually writes favorably of the products of the Detroit 3. Check out his reviews of the 2012 Ford Focus and the 2011 Chrysler 300. It seems that he's worried that any deficiency with the Chrysler 200 will contribute to malaise and unemployment in Detroit. Ironically, this heightened sensitivity seems to have caused a case of premature resignation, and Burgess is the only victim of 200-related unemployment so far.

Time for a more than marginally relevant video, here's Motor Trend's first look at the Chrysler 200.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Snyder v. Phelps
Funeral Protesting - Bad
First Amendment SLAPP Defense - Good

This week the Supreme Court announced its decision in Snyder v. Phelps, holding that the Westboro Baptist Church has a First Amendment right to picket funerals even if the picketing is calculated to cause emotional distress.

With this decision, the Supreme Court is sending a signal that first amendment protection shields speech-based conduct from intentional tort liability under theories other than defamation cases. I remember being ridiculed in law school when I suggested that the First Amendment was just as logically a defense to outrage and tortuous interference cases as it was to defamation. It looks like the law is finally coming around my way. I did think the "fighting words" doctrine might hold up a little better, though.

Serious post or excuse for a marginally relevant video? Are they really mutually exclusive? I'm tired. It's late. I'll let Michael Moore show you how to take on Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.

Attack of the Mazda-Eating Spiders

Okay, I exaggerated. Spiders aren't eating Mazdas, but 65,000 Mazda6 sedans are being recalled because they have a problem with spiders. Yellow sac spiders like to live in the fuel system hoses, and when they clog things up, your car just might go boom boom instead of zoom zoom.

Of course, a marginally relevant video coming right up.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Apple Introduces Shrunken Steve Jobs

Apple was expected to announce the new iPad 2 today. It happened. More shocking though, was the announcement that Steve Jobs has been shrunk to 1/20th of his original size. He is now, in fact, a fraction the size of an iPad. I'll have more details as they are uncovered.