Saturday, August 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Alexis de Tocqueville!

Jacques-Louis David showing his lack of painterly imagination in the 1824 Mars being Disarmed by Venus and the Three Graces. Tocqueville really didn't know much about art. Image via Wikipedia.
A new superlatively bad writer, Arthur Milikh, assistant director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation, celebrating the 210th birthday of Alexis de Tocqueville on July 29 (or 225th in the original version, as you can see from the URL) in the Daily Dogwhistle Signal:
We often boast about having attained some unimaginable redefinition of ourselves and our nation.
Do you now? What gets you in the mood? Asking for a friend.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Rough! Rough!


Mini–chicken parms from the GourmandMom.
Shorter David Brooks, "Two Cheers for Capitalism", July 30 2015:
Turns out capitalism isn't working right! But bad as it may be, people getting involved would probably make it worse yet, so I say don't mess with it.
OK, so now we know what snooty-ass luxury hotel Brooks was staying at when he wrote Tuesday's column about how much he prefers the budget motel and the self-serve waffle machine, or if not exactly which hotel, what town it was in, namely Aspen, for the Aspen Action Forum, a select event

Thursday, July 30, 2015

#BlackLivesMatter, still

Samuel Dubose, via NBC.
Something that struck me this morning from the NPR coverage of the murder of Sam Dubose, the Cincinnati man who was being busted for a missing front license plate and ended up getting shot to death because a cop felt insufficiently respected, enough that I ended up transcribing it off the audio; an interview with the head of the national Fraternal Order of Police, Jim Pasco, objecting to the murder charge against the cop, toward the end of the segment:
the ground has shifted let's face it prosecutors are sensitive to the mood of the community
it goes to show that to whatever extent people thought that prosecutors were necessarily going to protect police officers couldn't be more wrong in fact in this case it doesn't appear that he is willing to give him the presumption of innocence

Cheap shots: Rubinesque


The good Jennifer Rubin.
The other Jennifer Rubin, the one who hasn't spent her life making the world a slightly better place, has come up with a listicle of favorite Republican moments of the week, with an air of desperate, Rubinesque randomness:
Best visuals on announcement: Former Texas governor Rick Perry in an airplane hanger surrounded by veterans made for a compelling tableau. Since then, he’s had one of the strongest performances in the field.
OK Jennifer, so this is an airplane hanger (works better for shirts than for airplanes; Rick Perry is smaller than an airplane, but he still wouldn't fit):

Tempelhof Airplane Hanger.
This is an airplane hangar with Rick Perry in it, making for a compelling visual but unable to attract Sean Hannity's attention:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Structure of Platitude

Welcome MBRU readers!
"Gratitude is a sort of laughter of the heart."
David Brooks

"Lolwut?"
—me
Mary Pickford and Howard Ralston in Paul Powell's Pollyanna (1920).
Brooks in briefs and undershirt, crawling along the baseboard in search of a powerpoint for his laptop.
Hotel rooms, amirite? Can't live in 'em, can't live outside of 'em. They'll give you an iron just in case the one-hour laundry service doesn't do a good enough job with your shirt, but you can't find a fvcking outlet to plug it into. Maybe I could work that up for a column.
Finds it, sighs, sets up the charger, looks out the window.
Still, I could be in that breakfast bar in Michigan fighting over the self-service waffle maker. At least there's room service here, even if the waiter's shirt is better pressed than mine. I should be more grateful.
Sits at the machine.
Some are born grateful, some achieve gratefulness, some have gratitude thrust upon them. Hm.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A very specific disgust

Nuncio Casanova. Photomontage by The PasseNger Times.
Apostolic Nuncio to 42nd Street Monsignor Ross Douthat, on the doctored tape falsely suggesting that the Planned Parenthood organization sells "baby parts" from aborted fetuses; false or not, the Monsignor still thinks it ought to be a "problem" for PP:
...the problem these videos create for Planned Parenthood isn’t just a generalized queasiness at surgery and blood. It’s a very specific disgust, informed by reason and experience — the reasoning that notes that it’s precisely a fetus’s humanity that makes its organs valuable, and the experience of recognizing one’s own children, on the ultrasound monitor and after, as something more than just “products of conception” or tissue for the knife.
Dear Ross,

You certainly are a dick. For my part, I prefer to stay snarky and lighthearted on this page, and people like you aren't really invited, but the smugness of that reference to being "informed by reason and experience", the language of an unluckily stupid young parish priest (I know they're not all stupid!) laying down the law in spite of the fact that he's got only the reason they gave him in seminary and no experience at all, is more than I can bear. Aren't you getting a little long in the tooth to hold on to callow as your main shtik? Years away from the chunky Reese Witherspoons and a father yourself?

TWDNAASPUOHNTDSC rights! The struggle continues!


Move over black people, women, people with religions requiring them to wear special head coverings or smoke exotic substances, persons with disabilities, there's a new victim in town, cruelly ostracized by an unfeeling, narrow-minded society.

Senate Democrats are pushing an Equality Bill that says it is meant to add two new categories to the protected classes under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, sexual orientation and gender identity, but Andrew T. Walker of Ryan T. Anderson's Public Discourse blog finds that the actual secret intent of the bill is the opposite: far from protecting one oppressed group, it takes protections away from somebody else:

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Annals of Derp: Dysarithmia continued

Coldplay, Magic, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, 2014. Via Wikipedia.
So as always, I love it when Brooks dips his toe into economics, because while I really don't know that much about economics, compared to Brooks I'm a master. It's brilliant for my self-esteem. As in the present case, where he is trying to show that Dr. Krugman has been ignoring the research on raising minimum wage hikes, which I started looking at in the previous post.

It's to be presumed here that he doesn't actually know or even care especially what he's talking about at all, of course, but is simply taking instructions from his masters at AEI and the Manhattan Institute and Hoover, Timeswashing their ideas as it were to make them look serious to some particular set of readers who regard themselves as educated and modern and "for heaven's sake, Ethel, I'm not some old fuddy-duddy, I just believe in responsibility", but always glad to learn new reasons for keeping poor people poor.

Because moral philosophy will be taking more and more days off as the 2016 campaign season gets under way.

Today's story boils down to this: ever since the zenith of high capitalism in the late 19th century, progressive forces have been advocating wage floors, on the basically moral-rather-than-economic theory that an employee deserves enough money to keep her- or himself and dependents alive and in some sense decent—shoes on your feet and roof over your head and the kids don't go to bed hungry—and regressive forces have said no because freedom; meaning, obviously freedom for employers, who are the only real people. If the market allows me to get away with paying my workers less than they need to live on, why shouldn't I? Which isn't a very attractive argument, so they've always made other ones, with the assistance of economists.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Annals of derp: Dysarithmia?

Welcome No More Mister Nice Readers!

Yakov Protazanov, Aelita, Queen of Mars, 1924. Image via Little Plastic Things.
It's world-famous economics wonk David Brooks out to defeat that silly old Nobelist Paul Krugman, who was explaining last week how economists no longer believe minimum wage rises cause significant job losses. Not at all, says Brooks (not naming Krugman, as New York Times rules require):
Some of my Democratic friends are arguing that forcing businesses to raise their minimum wage will not only help low-wage workers; it will actually boost profits, because companies will better retain workers. Some economists have reported that there is no longer any evidence that raising wages will cost jobs. Unfortunately, that last claim is inaccurate. There are in fact many studies on each side of the issue.
Well, hm. I'll be updating this in the course of the day eventually, but there's one thing I want to get out right away, in the hope of scooping all my friendly rival Brooksologists, on some of the most illiterate-or-false assertions I've ever seen him make: