Tuesday, September 30, 2014

White House Fool Report: Haunted, but maybe not *that* haunted

The village of Kafr Daryan, with a report in Indonesian accusing "Crusader invaders" of targeting civilians for death there. Arrahmah.com. Sorry, that's what they're calling it. I'm sure you'd rather they didn't. One weird trick for stopping people from talking like that would be not killing civilians.
Hey Mr. P

Sorry to hear about the armed maniacs in your house. I mean, I guess the Secret Service guys were supposed to be there, but the other one...


I'll get down to the point: Last May, you told us

Note on centrism

VACCINATION against SMALL POX.  Mercenary & Merciless spreaders of Death & Destruction driven out of Society.
Cherub: The Preserver of the Human Race
Man in red: Aye, Aye. I always order them to be constantly out in the air, in order to spread the contagion.
Knife labels: The curse of human kind. (Royal Society)
Eula Biss (author of On Immunity: An Inoculation) on NPR:
There's a great blog, Science-Based Medicine — and one of the writers on that blog pointed out that when you split the difference between information and misinformation, you still end up with misinformation. So I think there are situations where a middle ground is not desirable. Though I'm the kind of thinker who's very drawn to compromises and to nuances...
Cross-posted at Booman Tribune.

Monday, September 29, 2014


Thugs strangling a traveler, early 19th century. Via Wikipedia.
You might not think it, but I do get embarrassed sometimes at how little I have to say that's critical about President Obama. It's partly because I'm so continually appalled at the attacks on him and their overtly racist character; as Melissa Harris-Perry was suggesting a few weeks ago, his presidency is in a lot of ways more important than he is himself. And then I'm not seeing a lot of practicable alternatives to his management, in the current situation in the United States, with a paralyzed legislature and a poisoned Supreme Court and a rotten and poorly informed political press and a rogue intelligence community that, I'm convinced, defies him; Obama is so much the least objectionable part of our establishment, and we ought to be trying to strengthen his hand against the rest of it.

Intellectually, though, he can be pretty ordinary or unimaginative (who can't?), and this bit of analysis from Professor Cole on the situation in Iraq and Syria struck me as kind of important:

Blood moon rising

Blood Moon. By Ironshod at DeviantArt.
Is there an editor in the house? I mean the house on 42nd Street, where Jonathan Weisman writes:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

White House Fool Report: Less shocking and awful?

Resistance fighter Idris Kobane, from the Kurdish village of Kobane just inside the Syrian border. Photo by Robert Tait/The Telegraph.
Guardian, last Tuesday:
The first strikes landed just after 2am, directed at sites that Islamic State (Isis) has openly used and that had long been flagged as targets. The jihadis were no longer there though, having blended in with Raqqa’s civilian population, where they knew they would be safer.
I noticed some folks—well, Dr. Turk, of whom I'm a long-time fan—making fun of the allies for blowing up buildings and letting the enemy get away, but it occurred to me that could work as a good, if unconventional idea: Don't kill people (who include civilians), kill infrastructure. Not the way they did it in old Mr. Rumsfeld's day, of course, but....

Tee hee!

Phyllis Schlafly as conceptualized by Michèle Bachmann (Image by Nuddie Naked Lady Golf Tees).
Michèle Bachmann (Mad-Eyed Lady of the Lakelands), Via Silly Rabbit at Kos:
"I believe that Phyllis Schlafly is the most consequential female woman in public policy in the last fifty years of the 20th Century," Bachmann declared. "Had there not been a Phyllis Schlafly, I believe that we wouldn't have seen a rise of the pro-family movement. Had there not been a rise of the pro-family movement, I don't believe that there would have been a Ronald Reagan. Without a President Ronald Reagan, I don't think we would have seen the ability to defeat the evil, and yes that's what it was, Soviet empire and to bring a conclusion to the Cold War. Just as Ronald Reagan was consequential, Phyllis Schlafly was extremely consequential because she was a tee to tee up this president that we had."
Of course that's not to say that as a female woman Schlafly was necessarily as consequential as some of the male women.


Heritage Senior Research Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs Brett D. Schaefer at the Daily Signal is shocked to realize how twisted the president's priorities are:
At the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday, President Barack Obama offered a stunning–in fact, deeply disturbing–insight into his views on threats to the United States and the American people.

Allegory, of something

Every summer artists from the Art Students League install seven sculptures in Riverside Park South, in what is billed as the M2M (Model to Monument) program. This year they were very interactive, including the only one I really liked, a piece of comical social realism by Lindsay McCosh, Harbor for Industry, of two figures across a path from each other, one at work with a shovel and the other watching from a park bench, so people took pictures of themselves sitting next to it. I don't know why it was wrapped in police tape the other day, but it was.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

How Brooks works

Jackie Coogan in Skippy (1931).

Schematic David Brooks, "The Good Order: Routine, Creativity, and President Obama's U.N. Speech", New York Times, September 26 2014:

1. Steal some anecdotes about the writing routines of Maya Angelou, John Cheever, and Anthony Trollope.

2. Acknowledge your source in such a way as to make it seem not like a source, merely an aide-mémoire, and the author you're stealing from merely a "compiler":
I was reminded of these routines by a book called “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work,” compiled by Mason Currey.
3. Steal some quotations from Sigmund Freud, Henry Miller, and W.H. Auden, ideally from the same book. That's called productivity.

4. Segue to Obama:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cognitive dissonance

According to today's editorial in the Times,
By any measure, the nearly-six-year tenure of Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has been one of the most consequential in United States history.... It is hard to imagine that anyone who could make it through the current Senate would have an impact comparable to Mr. Holder’s.

As the first African-American to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official, Mr. Holder broke ground the moment he took office. In a position that rarely rewards boldness — and in the face of a frequently hostile Congress — Mr. Holder has continued to stake out strong and laudable legal positions on many of the most contested issues of our time.
But on the other hand

Panther Justice

Baby panther, via.
Did anybody call Andrea Tantaros out to clarify what she meant?
"He didn't enforce the laws on Obamacare," Tantaros said. "He was droning terrorists without a trial while he was giving them trials in downtown Manhattan. He ran the DOJ much like the Black Panthers would. That is a fact."
It is? I mean, how would the Black Panthers run the Justice Department?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Legalism Watch: Syria

Paolo Uccello, Battaglia di San Romano (ca. 1435-60)
When they tell you that the air campaign against Daesh forces in Syria (yes, I got tired of calling it the "Caliphate") is illegal, we need to keep in mind that that doesn't mean it's illegal like the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as a serious breach of the United Nations Charter; what they're talking about is in the first instance this:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How conservatives think

Celine painted-toe heels, spring 2013. Via.
Something funny from the short-paragraph factory at Heritage Foundation's Daily Dogwhistle, sorry, make that Daily Signal, their would-be counterpart to Think Progress:
War on women. Minimum wage. Climate change.
You hear liberals talking about these same topics all the time. Why?
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