Friday, March 6, 2015

The temptation of stupid

Robert Walker in Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951), via lifeshouldbemorelikeamovie.
If you were sure David Brooks ("The Temptation of Hillary") would be supporting Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, I have to tell you that's probably not inevitable. He totally hasn't endorsed her yet. He's a little concerned that her economic views might not be sound, although he doesn't know what they are, but
it was always likely that she would move left as the primary season approached. It’s now becoming clearer how she might do it. She might make a shift from what you might call human capital progressivism to redistributionist progressivism.
I'll tell you the truth, I don't believe I would call anything "human capital progressivism". What is it when it's at home?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Note from the counterinsurgency

Mike Brown.
I really understand, I think, why the Justice Department finds it so hard to prosecute murderous police officers like Darren Wilson for civil rights violations against the people whose lives they have taken like Michael Brown. Only Wilson can possibly know what he meant to do to Brown and how he felt, whether he truly was in terror of what he perceived as a vicious giant or was rather high on his own lethal power, and nobody can make him testify. And he probably doesn't altogether know himself, for that matter, the ability of the human unconscious to hide our own motivations from us being what it is.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

O disingenuity!

Arthur Rackham, Nibelungs at work, 1910. Via Encore Editions.
So while SCOTUS is hearing the oral arguments, and nobody has yet found a member of Congress from when the Affordable Care Act was passed in March 2010 who thought that it prevented federally run exchanges from offering subsidized health insurance premiums, a friend-of-the-court brief suggests that some smart guys knew all about it:
 Six states, led by Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma, say that it “came as no surprise” to them that Congress made subsidies available only through state-run exchanges. Congress was trying to “entice” the states to set up their own exchanges, and this “conditioning of tax credits was the primary means of doing so.” The six states point out that in November 2012, two months before the deadline for establishing state exchanges, Pruitt challenged in court the I.R.S. rule granting subsidies through federally run exchanges.
It may not have surprised them exactly, but it certainly took them a while to find out. Pruitt filed his lawsuit, Pruitt v. Sebelius, in January 2011, without mentioning the Moops issue of whether subsidies are available to federally run exchanges at all; the substance of the case was

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Grounds for divorce: Wine, late nights, and instant communications

Image via softsolder.
Celebrated author David Brooks expresses himself uncharacteristically in verse in his New York Times posting today:
So much of life is about leave-taking:
moving from home to college,
from love to love,
from city to city and
from life stage to life stage.
In earlier times, leaving was defined by distance,
but now it is defined by silence.
Gradually a story seems to emerge, told in the scientific third person as a kind of universal experience, stripped of all individual detail, of a breakup between a man who acts or doesn't act, and a "friend", a woman, who "probably" perceives and feels; he slowly cuts off communications, one word at a time, she suffers "amazing" pain:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Annals of derp: The importance of bearding Earnest

Face Josh Earnest makes when he's responding to a question from Conn Carroll. From Townhall.
This is a pretty classic case, but it may take a while to get to the punchline. Somebody called Conn Carroll at Townhall, reporting how he asked the tough questions:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov

Moscow March marchers. Photo by Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA, via The Guardian.
As soon as the news of the assassination of Boris Nemtsov started coming out, so did the propagandists, with a bit of classic misdirection on the subject of whether Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and his circle could have had anything to do with the killing:
Somebody in my online circle even came up with a remarkable analogy: What if people had gone around accusing FDR in the assassination of Huey Long, September 8 1935 and just a month after the Kingfish had announced his candidacy for president?

Why deport when you can extort?

Tampa Bay reporter Dan DeWitt gets some tips on blueberry picking. About 85% of farmworkers nationwide are undocumented; they're paying payroll taxes but they'll never collect Social Security. Photo by Will Vragovic, Tampa Bay Times.
Something I've been confused about in the immigration debate that others may be confused about too, because it hasn't been handled very well by, say, the Times:
Judge Hanen said in his ruling, in a case brought by Texas and 25 other states, that the administration had not followed required procedures for changing federal rules. The judge issued an injunction ordering that the program be halted, and government officials quickly postponed the actions to comply with the order.
Sounds like (sounds like we're playing charades, hahaha) it's so obvious that the executive's prosecutorial discretion permits it to decide who to deport, given that they can't deport all 11-odd million simultaneously or proceed entirely at random, which seems to be what the Republicans want (they think any kind of forethought is treachery), that what Judge Hanen had to do to throw the DAPA and expanded DACA programs out was pin them to some kind of quibble from the arcana of the federal rule books, so exotically bureaucratic that it couldn't even be explained to us, but this is not exactly what happened.

Friday, February 27, 2015

I give up

A view of non-Euclidean R'yleh, via hppodcraft.
Binyamin Netanyahu was unable to schedule a meeting with President Obama, so he asked famed foreign policy expert (and self-described "Israeli parent") David Brooks to step in:
Over the past centuries, Western diplomats have continually projected pragmatism onto their ideological opponents. They have often assumed that our enemies are driven by the same sort of national interest calculations that motivate most regimes.
Spoiler alert: He's talking about the last 1.15 centuries, specifically, since the time when "Western" first meant "British and French and whoever they happen to be allied with at the moment", and it's kind of true up to here. They have indeed projected pragmatism, sort of "continually", on the people they're negotiating with, because that's the tool diplomats have; the assumption that other governments take national interest into pragmatic consideration is a working assumption without which modern diplomacy can't proceed.
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