Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Phenomenal success

Photo by Clément Ciocca.
Andrew Cuomo starting to sound a little like Donald Trump, in Buffalo:
"Moreland Commission was a phenomenal success, it generated all sorts of interest in the behavior of the legislature," Cuomo said.
Also about how he never interfered with the commission's functioning:
“The best evidence of independence is when someone from the second floor says, ‘Why don’t you do this?’ The chairman says, ‘Let me think about.’ And then the chairman says, ‘I disagree, I don’t want to do that.’ That’s not a sign of interference. That is demonstrable proof of independence.”
He's got proof that his interference wasn't always successful, so obviously it wasn't interference.

And finally the bit I woke up to, on WNYC this morning:
“Is it perfect? No. Is there more to do? Yes,” the governor said. “But it worked. And the commission members should feel very, very good about what they did.” The governor says he ended the commission, even though it was in the midst of probes, because he doesn’t “believe the state needs another expensive prosecutor’s office."
The real reason he shut it down: it was just so successful it wasn't fair to all the other commissions. He put it hors concours.

Give war a chance?

Via Steven D, vintage 2006.
Classic, like the inverse of "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Here's this thing I define as universally, intrinsically justified, and my question is if Israel does it is Israel justified in particular?

Our literary triumphs

Thalia, Muse of Comedy. Playing card, Ferrara, ca. 1465, Chatsworth House.

The gods gave me a joke yesterday, an amazing Franco-American pun, which I'll never possibly get an opportunity to use again, over at Lawyers, Guns, and Money, where Scott Lemieux was in especially grand form mocking Ezra Klein's opinion that pundits (of the really respectable kind, like Ezra Klein) must have a really crucial, possibly intimidating (or voxtimidating) influence on the Supreme Court. Reproduced without comment:

Malaclypse says:
Josh: I was terrified of him. Everyone was terrified of Ezra. I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Ezra. EvenTheLiberal Matt Yglesias was frightened of Ezra.
Interviewer: What did he do?
Josh: He used sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and satire.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Poor little rich populist

Monsignor Ross Douthat, the Apostolic Nuncio to 42nd Street, has always seemed to me to be smarter than David Brooks, but he may be equally challenged when it comes to simple mathematics.

In Sunday's Times, he writes:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Netanyahu lies, outed

'The first eye-witness accounts of the war by serving Israeli reservists and conscripts describes the Israeli use of Palestinian civilians as "human shields". They detail the killing of at least two civilians, the vandalism, looting and wholesale destruction of Palestinian houses, the use of deadly white phosphorus, bellicose religious advice from army rabbis and what another battalion commander described to his troops as "insane firepower with artillery and air force".' (Independent)
Via Richard Silverstein:
I guess that puts the casus belli for the Gaza incursion up there with the 2003 US invasion of Iraq as one of those Big Lies.

Because the attack on Gaza has always been about the three Israeli kids, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel, who disappeared in the West Bank on the night of June 12,

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Annals of Derp: Impeachy Keen

Impeaches and cream. Cornmeal shortcakes, via Foodland.
One of the rock-bottom silliest things about Speaker Boehner's little summer project of taking President Obama to court (for Subcriminal Neglect, I guess, or maybe it's just Alienation of Affections) is the alleged reason that he has to do it because our otherwise infinitely resourceful and perfect, God-given Constitution doesn't give him any options: as Forbes magazine's Transformational Humanitarian Populism correspondent, gold bug Ralph Benko, writes,

Those wacky Christianists

Welcoming the forthcoming Aaron McGruder comedy series Black Jesus on Adult Swim:
Focal Point host Bryan Fischer put out an “action alert” on his show yesterday because Black Jesus will depict Christ “in the hood,” where he will be “handing out booze to people on the street, homeless people, it looks like to me.” He went on to note that he believes the show “plays to the worst stereotypes of the black community,” and expressed surprise that “black leaders in the NAACP” weren’t already “outraged” by it. (Raw Story)
In the hood.

Keep calm: Postscript

On December 6 2010 Tom Christina of the American Enterprise Institute gave a presentation detailing his hopes for overturning the Affordable Care Act by judicial means. In his PowerPoint presentation, he noted the main criteria:

He found himself gravitating to questions of the state and/or federal government-run health insurance exchanges as an "attractive target", wondered if religious exemptions could provide an issue, and noted, just in passing, an odd little missing thing in Section 1321:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Annals of derp: The Texas Criminal Alien caper

Texas Department of Public Safety.

The chart of total Texas alien (red and green) vs. non-alien (blue) arrests for the past 30 months put out by the Texas Department of Public Safety has some interesting properties. The most interesting, in my opinion, is the way it is not to scale, so that the blue part, with numbers representing about 92% of the total, looks like it's a little less than half. [jump]

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Photo by Mike Groll/AP.
Merry Andrew

Today's story in the Times about Andrew Cuomo's Moreland Commission, which he set up a year ago to investigate corruption in the New York State government and then shut down last March with the unconvincing explanation that it wasn't needed because the legislature had promised to pass a bunch of reform bills (two days later they failed to pass the main items) is pretty shocking, even if you've had a bad feeling about Cuomo for quite a while (one of my first posts, in December 2011, expressed some distress).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Keep calm and karaoke!

Via Cosmo Orbüs.
There's a certain amount of outfreaking (German: Ausfreakung) going on in the Tubes over today's ruling by a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Federal Court of Appeals that Affordable Care insurance clients can't get their premium subsidies in the 36 states whose Republican governors and/or legislators refused to set up a state exchange, because the law doesn't mention doing subsidies for the big federal exchange that these citizens are forced by their stupid rulers to use instead. "Omigod," I'm hearing, "they're going to murder Obamacare!"

I'm not buying it. Only a couple of hours later another ruling came down from a different panel and in the opposite direction (same link as above):

Big old tough guys

Pavel Gubarev, in gubernatorial regalia. Photo by lenta.ru via Kiyiv Post.
From Sabrina Tavernise's astounding reporting for the Times:
Four rebels in fatigues were wandering through the ruins, looking through people’s belongings and riffling through guidebooks and bags. When asked who was responsible for the crash, they looked incredulous and said that it had of course been the Ukrainian military.
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