Monday, May 30, 2016

The stupid! It scathes!

Happy Memorial Day! Another bloody long one—mostly because of all the quotes. I'd have made it shorter but I didn't want to take the extra time.

I vote for Gene too. Mara's honest-and-trustworthy numbers are going through the floor. Image tweeted sometime in late March by Stacy Smallwood.

Mara Liasson on NPR yesterday morning:

This was a bad week for Hillary Clinton. The State Department inspector general released a report that was very scathing. And it contradicted a couple of assertions she's made in the past about her using a private server for her emails. She'd said in the past that the arrangement was allowed. Now, she never said she asked for permission and got it. But she did say it was allowed. And the inspector general said no, it wasn't allowed. And if she had asked us, we wouldn't have let her do it, or we would've told her not to do it.

The report was "very scathing"? What was the thing about it that "scathed", "scorched", "seared", or "assailed with withering denunciation"? The next sentence begins with "And", indicating that it's about something in addition to the scathe factor, which remains unexplained. The report's conclusion, in full, states:

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Annals of Derp: Douthat Gets a Head Start


Monsignor Ross Douthat, Apostolic Nuncio to 42nd Street, has stopped calling the Trump a would-be "caudillo"—I guess his confessor must have gotten to him and explained carefully that to a properly conservative Catholic, caudillo means the "Caudillo by the Grace of God" Generalísimo Franco and not a bad guy, just because he didn't care for elections or trade unions or people speaking languages other than Castellano. (He's been proclaimed a saint by Pope Gregory XVII of the Palmarian Catholic Church, whatever that is). Unless you're one of those Vatican II modernists and heretics, in which case you probably think saints shouldn't be sponsoring torture and rape, death squad killings, concentration camps and political penal colonies, stealing children from their parents, and medical experiments meant to "establish the bio-psych roots of Marxism".

Now he's calling Trump something new—
Donald Trump is many things — man’s man, ladies’ man, strength-worshiping Poujadist.
The link there doesn't work (the fact that it hasn't been repaired suggests that nobody ever checks out Ross's links, which doesn't surprise me); it's meant to go to the Wikipedia biography of the mid–20th-century "populist" politician Pierre Poujade, who was the scourge of the Fourth French Republic, with his Union de Défense des Commerçants et Artisans (Union for the Defense of Shopkeepers and Artisans), a forerunner of today's Front National (the youngest member of parliament after the 1956 elections was none other than a 28-year-old Jean-Marie Le Pen, head of the Poujadiste youth wing).

Poujade's UDCA was meant to represent the French petite bourgeoisie against the elites of the Parisian Grandes Écoles and especially against the contribuable or social security tax that funds the French welfare state. It was anti-intellectual (Poujade boasted about his lack of formal education), pro-colonial (angry at France's ongoing loss of Indochina and Algeria), and xenophobe. In short very much a typical American Republican, with the obvious differences of time and place (Poujade was especially exercised by a Jewish prime minister, Pierre Mendès-France, US Republicans are driven mad by an African-American president).

Yes, Trump's a kind of Poujadiste, but he's not alone.

Today's device for endorsing Trump while continuing to pretend he's not endorsing Trump is in the Safirian form of offering himself up as a Trump speechwriter, or in this case debate coach, suggesting lines Trump could use in debates this fall, on the example of how he might attack Clinton's plans to approach or achieve universal pre-K:

Clinton: “… been fighting for working families for my entire career. That’s why I have a detailed plan to offer tax credits that make day care affordable. I’ll double funding for Head Start. I’ll partner with states to expand universal pre-K. And I’ll guarantee 12 weeks of paid family leave.”
Moderator: “Mr. Trump?”
Trump: “We are not winning. America is not winning. And here comes — this is typical, folks — here comes Crooked Hillary, and of course she wants America to become more like France....”
One of the things Trump needs to do, naturally, is reference Douthat:

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Those chads didn't hang themSELVES, you know!

Doctor Steins with Tardis. Via wibbilywobblytimeywimey.
Steve M is being a worrywort again, this time on the possibility that Dr. Stein, the Green candidate, could do to Secretary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic candidate, what Nader did to Gore 16 years ago, in the election that Changed Everything (including giving birth to the anguished political blog: Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo made its first appearance a week after the ballot, specifically to track developments in the elections theft, on November 12 2000, though the earliest post I can find is from November 13).

Because if the cool-kid Sanders supporters can't vote for Sanders in the general election they will be voting for Stein rather than voting for Clinton, judging from the popular press (BuzzFeed and The Atlantic), and this could take the election away from Clinton the way the Nader vote took the election away from Gore in 2000. Really?

Friday, May 27, 2016

David Brooks penetrates the student movement. Well, not quite.

Image via Amazon Fashion.
David Brooks is jumping today ("Inside Student Radicalism") into the rightwing crowd howling around Nathan Heller's "Letter from Oberlin" on the perils of intersectionality in the little to medium-sized private liberal arts college, in the current New Yorker, which offers many hilarious examples of campus excess, the student who wanted trigger warnings posted for Sophocles's Antigone (students could be affected by the heroine's argument in favor of suicide), or the theater professor who slipped on a Groucho Marx nose or something like it ("a rubber nose and glasses") during an interview, while Heller wasn't looking ("a grown man, having a meeting with a reporter from The New Yorker, behaving that way", shrieks Rod Dreher, who will certainly behave with the utmost sobriety if a New Yorker reporter ever interviews him), or the president who likes to talk over issues with students over ice cream, because "There is nothing like ice cream to bring people together".

(For Dreher, that function is better filled by "a salade gourmande, which was a green salad with haricots verts (those matchstick-thin French green beans), fresh mushrooms, in a mustard vinaigrette, with a side slab of pâte de foie gras" to start, followed by chicken in a creamy sauce with fresh morels. It's astonishing, by the way, what a timid Anglo eater Dreher is, considering how sophisticated he thinks he is, ordering the chicken in Lyon where he's afraid to try tripe, andouillettes—the man is from Louisiana!—or even the house specialty of pike quenelles. And he believes tripe [stomach lining] and chitlins [small intestine] are the same thing, the ignoramus.)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Economic downturns kill people. With cancer.

Architect David Adjaye's rendering of the projected Gahanga International Children's Cancer Center near Kigali, Rwanda, where health insurance is mandatory (with zero premiums for the poor). Via De Zeen
And government-run health care systems prevent it. A study by Mahiben Maruthappu, Johnathan Watkins, et al. reported in The Lancet this week found in a study of cancer outcomes in 75 countries from 1990 to 2010 that
Unemployment rises were significantly associated with an increase in all-cancer mortality and all specific cancers except lung cancer in women. By contrast, untreatable cancer mortality was not significantly linked with changes in unemployment. Lag analyses showed significant associations remained 5 years after unemployment increases for the treatable cancer class. Rerunning analyses, while accounting for UHC [Universal Health Care] status, removed the significant associations. All-cancer, treatable cancer, and specific cancer mortalities significantly decreased as PEH [Public Expenditure on Health] increased. Time-series analysis provided an estimate of more than 40 000 excess deaths due to a subset of treatable cancers from 2008 to 2010, on the basis of 2000–07 trends. Most of these deaths were in non-UHC countries. 
Let's just say that again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

West of Eden: Fascism may be here.

Image via emaze.

Thomas P. Friedman, better known as Thomas L. Friedman, Mystax Malinconicus, is in a saturnine humor as regards a former favorite country of his:
Israel has recently been under intense criticism on the world stage. Some of it, like the “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (B.D.S.) campaign, is a campus movement to destroy Israel masquerading as a political critique. But a lot of it is also driven by Israel’s desire to destroy itself — thanks to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s steady elimination of any possibility that Israel will separate itself from the Palestinians in the West Bank.
That somewhat comical formulation—"This is no time to be committing suicide, there are people out there trying to kill you!"—points at some kind of truth, but it's not something Tom really wants to hear.

The formula on BDS is a little like one of those Radio Yerevan jokes from the former Soviet Union:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Yond Hillary has a workaholic look

Let Brooks have men about him that are fat,
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.

Buster Keaton in Roscoe Arbuckle's His Wedding Night (1917). Via Oh, So?
Shorter David Brooks, "Why Is Clinton Disliked?", New York Times, May 24 2016:
I think I've got the answer to this vexing question—it's got to be because we don't know what her hobby is. Why, she may not have a hobby at all! You can't expect Americans to put up with that!
Because it can't possibly have anything to do with a 25-year campaign of calumny, libel, and prurient fantasies accusing her of everything from insider futures trading to murder, with allegations of sexual oddity, support for terrorists, simple bribery, and selling the influence of the secretary of state to fund her gigantic appetite for um funding Haitian earthquake relief and bolstering her hated husband's reputation as a humanitarian, with the eager complicity of the media widely reporting every story ("some say, said some") though it can never show a foundation in fact for any of them. Somewhat abated after 2000 when she wasn't running for president and then when Barack Obama was, but revived since a couple of years ago at triple the original force.

No, it's because we don't know whether she collects cat figurines, or works on cryptic crosswords in her spare time: