Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day


Jared Bernstein goes big:
But I think what’s missing from our national debate over labor and the condition of working families — those who depend on paychecks, not stock portfolios — is something more fundamental: courage.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday night cheap shot

Snarkists everywhere say, "Yes! Yes!"
Just couldn't resist sharing—famed celebrity fiction writer Edward Klein, writing in conservative fanzine New York Post, has been hearing voices, sorry rumors, that the Mittster is tanned and rested (he was always those) and ready too, having suddenly mastered all those pesky issues after eight years of not quite getting there:
“The smart folks in the party are not committed to any presidential candidate this early,” said Scott Reed, the senior political strategist for the US Chamber of Commerce, the powerful business lobby that has scored a string of establishment victories over Tea Party candidates in this year’s Republican primaries. “But Romney can’t be dismissed as the guy who lost last time.
“You watch him on TV these days, and he’s a new guy with total command of the issues and a real presence,” Reed added. “He could throw an organization together and get the money.”
Hey, I didn't know Mormons believed in the Real Presence.

One anonymous "wealthy New York–based Republican" told Klein,
“Most of the people I talk to who are involved in Republican politics as donors want a winner.”
And you know how to recognize a winner, right?

It's easy! Just watch Fox.
Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.

Tan of the hour

Vixen's right, he should have gone with flat-front instead of pleats. And maybe made everybody else wear pink ties. Why isn't Obama less of a wimp and more like this guy? Image from Society Bride.
The big takeaway for me of last week's tan suit imbroglio was the light it threw on President Obama's war aims, not in the Middle East, but inside the White House. The Anonymous Sources were so startled that they stumbled into a kind of honesty, as reported in The Daily Beast:
Those inside the administration advocating for going after ISIS in both Iraq and Syria were sorely disappointed – and lamented their boss's lack of urgency in rooting out a threat that only days before was being described in near-apocalyptic terms....

Saturday, August 30, 2014

There are more things in philosophy...

...Than are dreamt of in David Brooks's heaven and earth.
Harold Lloyd, The Freshman, 1925.
The old moral humilist is back from a brief holiday, somewhat refreshed and in some philosophically louche company, that of Christian psychologist Robert C. Roberts (Baylor University) and regulative epistemologist W. Jay Wood (Wheaton College). It's his more or less monthly book report, on a book by Roberts and Wood, Intellectual Virtues: An Essay in Regulative Epistemology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007).

And what, you want to know (don't deny it!), is regulative epistemology (if not a metascientific stool softener)?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Progressive capital of the lolwut?

Check this out, Jim Hoft, is that a gang sign? Photo by AP.
All of a sudden young Andrew Cuomo has decided he wants my vote. Two mailers yesterday, and a phone call, where I'm afraid I got a little sputtery with what I'm sure was a very nice young volunteer (well, at least nice and young; I'll bet she was paid). One of the mailers said
Governor Cuomo helped New York reclaim its place as the progressive capital of the country
Really?

Well, last time he wanted my vote there wasn't even an election going on, in January 2013, when he delivered his third State of the State message, and announced his plans for a bunch of progressive initiatives. How's he doing on that list, by the way?

1. Called for a minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $8.75. Settled for $8 even. Less than California ($9), Connecticut ($8.70), D.C. ($9.50), Illinois ($8.25), New Jersey ($8.25), Oregon ($9.25), Vermont ($8.73), Washington ($9.32).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hornendämmerung

Via AZCentral.
Sometimes you just look away for a second and they're gone! One of the blog's favorite conservative characters, Arizona attorney general Tom Horne, who just lost his primary yesterday, according to Ed Kilgore, and will presumably be passing at last through that semifinal revolving door to a consulting career:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Edgy Wedgie

[Producer Deborah Turness's] new vision for “Meet the Press” includes adding a regular panel of journalists who will question guests, something of a return to the venerable show’s original format. “The show needs more edge,” she said. “It needs to be consequential. I think the show had become a talking shop that raked over the cold embers of what had gone on the previous week. The one-on-one conversation belongs to a decade ago. We need more of a coffeehouse conversation." (New York Times)
My proposal for a truly edgier Meet the Press:

PROJECT BELTWAY
The show becomes a kind of reality series in which a group of, say, 10 contestants from the worlds of politics, industry, the military, and the press, etc., try to persuade Heidi and a panel of judges (Cokie Roberts, Ralph Nader, and Howard Stern) that they have what it takes to brand themselves as survivable in the hothouse atmosphere of Washington—a balance between avant-garde and commercial, friendly and freezing, smart and fart.

HEIDI: You know how it is in politics. One day you're in, and one you're out. Right, Cokie?

Each week they perform a different task—trying to have a conversation with John McCain, drafting a budget balancing agreement, eating their way down the midway of the Iowa state fair, and so on, changing with the political seasons. Tim counsels them through, and they ignore him at their peril.

TIM: I'm not sure you should be writing a book about Martin Luther King, Governor Huckabee. Shouldn't you open yourself up to a bigger color palette?

MIKE: I know what I'm doing, Tim. You'll see.

TIM: Well, make it work!

And then on Sunday morning—well, you see what I mean.

We'll just have to muggle through

As our nation lurches from crisis to crisis this summer, with ominous movements taking place everywhere from Afghanistan to Scotland and an increasing climate of unquiet here at home, where institutions as important as Meet the Press rock and teeter toward a possible doom, when what we need most is a voice of unity to speak to our fears and hopes with a calm but convinced voice, one key figure appears to have gone AWOL, abandoning us for the golf course or whatever he does when he's not working, puttering while Rome burns, vanishing on an unprecedented number of vacation days in the face of the people's anxiety and uncertainty.

I refer of course to New York Times columnist David Brooks, who was missing in action during much of July and has now been off again for a week so far with no pretext of "book leave" and no indication of when he plans to return, leaving bloggers bereft and forcing us to write about unpleasant things like murderous cops, murderous Salafi organizations, Ross Douthat, and worse. He needs to speak to the nation in our hour of confusion, and the column he needs to write goes something like this:

Monday, August 25, 2014

In which I agree with Ross Douthat...

Wassily Kandinsky, Composition IV, 1911.
...when the Apostolic Nuncio to 42nd Street makes fun of the administration's insistence that there's anything "medieval" about the self-denominated "Islamic state":
The idea that America’s foes and rivals are not merely morally but chronologically deficient, confused time travelers who need to turn their DeLorean around, has long been a staple of this administration’s rhetoric. Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and tyrants in general have been condemned, in varying contexts, for being on the dreaded “wrong side of history.”
Obviously if the would-be Caliph were to be transported back to the actual medieval Caliphate of Baghdad with its alcohol and sexual adventurousness, freedom of thought and easy acceptance of Jews, Christians, Chinese, and even Shiites (Sunnis, however, often had to bend to the theological whims of the ruler),  and art, music, fragrance, he'd want to behead them all or run away.

But I have a little difficulty with the warmed-over Fukuyamism with which he goes onto explain,
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