Friday, April 18, 2014

Circus ex machina, machina ex circo

Probably from a Tellyvision show called "Lost Girl", via TheMonkeyTwin
Shorter David Brooks, "When the Circus Descends", New York Times, April 18 2014:
It's centrist street cred time, so I'd like to pause here to mention how fond I am of a pragmatic little idea out there minding its own business when an ideological circus drops on its head, which is a new metaphor for Both Sides Doing It. Thus the crazy right believes that the Common Core State Standards for education are a Communist conspiracy. Also the left doesn't like them either for some [jump]

Cheap shots and fever spots

Dark... edgy... conservative...

Wednesday Addams deals with the national debt. The film's auteur is—apparently—John Hilt, head of the little known and less effective Exposing Marxists PAC (h/t The Wire). His letter to Louisiana Representative Louis Gohmert suggests he's an entrepreneurial job-creaty seeker after some of that wingnut grift:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ukraine, I kraine...

I have a Croatian friend—for well over 20 years, in fact, meaning I first really got to know him during the collapse of Yugoslavia, when he was pretty militant, as you might be too if you knew Slobodan Milošević was trying to murder your mother along with all her neighbors, and even though one of his best friends was a Serb. But he mellowed to some extent thereafter.

At the beginning of 1993, he caught me mocking the Czechs and the Slovaks over the pathetic character of their national breakup, when they couldn't afford to have [jump]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bad writing

Quintessential Dowd:
It was a sequel idea proposed by Tony Scott, who directed the blockbuster “Top Gun,” before he committed suicide in 2012.

Jerry Bruckheimer, who co-produced the 1986 movie, which he once described as “‘Star Wars’ on earth,” recently revealed to The Huffington Post that he and Cruise are getting “closer and closer” to a deal to make “Top Gun 2.”
It was actually quite a long time before 2012, as the following paragraph makes clear: a good 26 years. Whereas her sentence makes it sound as if he offed himself while the movie was in post-production. Or I'm misreading that comma, and the idea is that he proposed the sequel just before doing himself in, as if it were the idea itself that drove him to despair.

Either way, it has no possible relevance to the subject at hand. If she wanted to make it clear that Scott is not involved in the sequel, she could have said "the late Tony Scott", like any normal writer. But because suicide is a sort of "edgy" concept, and she's deathly afraid that her friends will suspect she might not have known the gossip item (it's two years old!), she's got to squeeze it in somehow, no matter how much it damages her rhythm. What a terrible, terrible writer she is.
From "The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd", via Comics Alliance, 2010.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The times they are a-changin!

The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped, the department said.
The decision by the nation’s largest police force to shutter the surveillance program represents the first sign that William J. Bratton, the department’s new commissioner, is backing away from some of the post-9/11 intelligence-gathering practices of his predecessor. The move comes as the federal government reconsiders and re-evaluates some of its post-9/11 policies, including the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection. 

Ties that re-bind

Homemade matzoh, via BetterBatter.
Shorter David Brooks, "A Long Obedience", New York Times, April 15 2014:
Passover is such a liberal holiday, with all this emphasis on slaves escaping to freedom and getting to do whatever they want, so I prefer to ignore it, and get an early start on Shavuot instead.
A remarkably rich and insane column, seriously suggesting that the feast of the Passover is mistaken in celebrating the Hebrews' escape from their Egyptian bondage when it ought to be celebrating God's giving to Moses of the Law (613 count 'em 613 commandments) 40 years later (and seven weeks later in the Jewish calendar, when it has its own holiday, as Brooks surely knows, the Feast of Weeks, June 3-5 this year), which Brooks says was a "re-binding", as clarified in the commentaries of Rabbis Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin:


34th Street. In the old days, CNN would have been where you go to hear Dr. Gupta's stories. How and why did this peculiar inversion take place?

Monday, April 14, 2014

The proof of the Putin

MICEX index April 2013 to April 2014: Wheee! Via Bloomberg from Econbrowser.
In early March, the Russian stock interest lost almost 11% as Russian troops entered Ukraine, and the value of the ruble against the US dollar fell to record lows. A couple of weeks later, while American conservatives laughed at the pathetic sanctions against Russia imposed by the Obama administration, in Russia sanctions laugh at you, and there was more [jump]

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dishonesty on Diversity

Apropos of nothing in particular... Via SpydersDen.
Shorter Ross Douthat, "Diversity and Dishonesty", New York Times, 13 April 2014:
University faculty should be encouraged to engage in research promoting or justifying oppression or tainted by racism, sexism, or heterosexism, because freedom.
Hahaha, just kidding. The Apostolic Nuncio to 42nd Street merely argued that tenured faculty should be permitted to engage in such research, against the threat represented by Sandra Korn, a Harvard senior and twice-a-month columnist at the influential Crimson newspaper, who wrote a piece in February expressing a certain nostalgia for the Harvard of [jump]

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cheap shot: Soon they'll be demanding reparations

So true. Everywhere they go, conservatives face heartrending discrimination simply because of who they are.

Herded into segregated schools.
"Conservatives only" drinking fountains.
Wasn't Rosa Parks ordered to the back of the taxi?

Flag dance

Flag dance choreographed by the Ming dynasty imperial prince, mathematician, astronomer, and music theorist Zhu Zaiyu (1536-1611), famous for his discovery of  a precise method of calculating equal temperament in 1585, ahead of Europeans. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The image of mastery and omniscience

Nine seconds of trades as seen by HFT algorithms, visualized by Nanex, via TheFutureReset.
David Brooks writes:
Most of us have been seized at one time or another by what I call the explanatory drive, by which I mean a biological urge to explain things at some length, if not to others then at least to oneself; when you are confronted by a puzzle, riddle, or enigma and cannot rest through your long, haunted nights until you have wrestled that sucker to the ground, figured it out, and shouted, "Eureka!" or words to that effect.
We're all familiar with the explanatory drive, but I never realized I could incorporate it into my narrative of how traditional Tory morality makes [jump]
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