Friday, August 30, 2013

Brooks explains it all

David Brooks writes:
Apparently, as it turns out, there is a bigger threat to world peace than the use of poison gas in Syria; even bigger than the Islamic atomic bomb that will be ready in three weeks from whenever Ayatollah Khamenei gives the word, which could be any second. It's the fact of Islam being divided into different sects, with different beliefs, and adherents that really don't like each other very much, killing each other.  This could get big! [jump]
Image from bigfreefun.

Cheap shots: Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar, sometimes it's not

Robert Dudley dancing the lavolta with Queen Elizabeth I. Possibly by Marcus Gheeraerts, ca. 1580. Wikipedia.

Armed and dangerous:
A state senator who is advocating for arming teachers in the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, accidentally shot a teacher with a rubber bullet during a training course, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. [jump]

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bias confirmation

Hard to imagine myself saying this about a New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, but I really like Jodi Rudoren; she doesn't particularly deviate from any party line that you might suspect her of hewing to, but she's just a good writer, with a curiosity about people tangential to the beat, and surprising insights:
The retired men who parse politics on Monday mornings over cappuccino at the Hadar Mall here have watched all manner of war, uprisings and chaos. To them, the chemical attacks to the north in Syria and the military crackdown against Islamists to the south in Egypt are almost comforting, a confirmation of a common Israeli view that their Arab neighbors are unready for democracy, while also offering a diversion from their own conflict with the Palestinians.
What a beautiful way of capturing the conservatism of simple people in a quick brushstroke—the emotional frame that confirmation bias hangs on. What people long for isn't peace and goodwill, they want to know that we are still the good guys and the other guys are still bad.

Journalistic scruples compel her to say "almost comforting" but I would lose the "almost".
Funny—I'm looking for a picture of old guys in a Jerusalem coffee shop and this is the only good one I can find. Baumers Abroad, 2011. Anyway Rudoren would be talking to them too, for a different article.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


A bag of nightcrawlers unearthed by BooMan: A letter by self-denominated "foreign policy experts from across the ideological spectrum" running in the Weekly Standard urging the president
not only to ensure that Assad’s chemical weapons no longer threaten America, our allies in the region or the Syrian people, but also to deter or destroy the Assad regime’s airpower and other conventional military means of committing atrocities against civilian non-combatants.  At the same [jump]
Royal Selangor Wormtongue wine flute.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Down, Wisconsin!

Best I could do. All the pictures of black leather briefs were short ones, and mostly on male models. Via Magnificent Bastard.
Is this by Howard Kurtz (via Media Matters) the worst-written sentence you have ever seen?
Her new profile picture, in a Swiss-cheese bra that leaves little to the imagination and long black leather sleeves and briefs, is so revealing that it drew a torrent of breathless comments.
Something about those hyperventilating comment torrents has an almost Lovecraftian doomed majesty. Kurtz leaves a lot to the imagination. Now how do I turn it off?

Beautiful, by the way, from Erik Wemple:
Kurtz himself refrains from alleging that the pictures go too far. He merely asks if they go too far, which means he thinks they go too far, but by asking the question, he gets to claim that hallowed middle ground he’s spent his entire career clinging to.
Reminds me, if I may say so, of me on Kurtz & Milbank. 

David Brooks's secret message

Protest marcher. Prophet Amos, from Pueblo de Dios Lutheran Church.
The Yale Professor of Humility, with that uncanny ability he has to root out little-known facts, has learned that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a well-regarded Christian theologian. And not only that:
It’s also worth remembering that while today we take marches and protests for granted, the tactics of the civil rights movement had deep philosophical and religious roots.
Moreover, King and A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin were not liberals.
The leaders rejected the soft meliorism of more secular activists, the idea that significant progress could be made through consciousness-raising and education campaigns, through consensus and gradual reform. As Rustin put it, African-American leaders like him looked upon “the middle-class idea of long-term educational and cultural changes with fear and mistrust.”
The conclusion is obvious: indeed, so obvious that Brooks leaves it unstated, with his usual sophistication (also known as chronic dishonesty): King was a conservative!

Just like Tolstoy and Gandhi. And St. Francis. And the prophet Amos.

Or maybe just old Mr. Buckley, who had such a high regard for Dr. King, and set the standard for explaining his thinking by distorting what he said.

Heritage tomatoes

2010 Vancouver Tomato Festival.
Heritage Foundation boldly steps forward to correct some PolitiFiction:
  • PolitiFact’s objections to the characterization of Obamacare as government-centered medicine ignore conclusions from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that a mandate for all Americans to purchase health insurance, like that in Obamacare, is “an unprecedented form of federal action,” or analysis from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service that “the precise number of new entities that will ultimately be created” by Obamacare is “currently unknowable.”
Heritage is correct on this one: PolitiFact should have described the phrase "government-centered medicine" as inherently meaningless.  What, if it referred to anything, would it refer to? The terms "doctor-centered" and "patient-centered" refer to categories from the analysis of videoed consultations showing the behavior of doctors and patients respectively (in the context of research on Britain's National Health Service!). You might as well complain about referee-centered soccer (one can and must complain about the conduct of the referee but we don't expect the officials to bow out and allow the market to decide who fouled). Anyone who has studied logic knows that a nonsensical statement is neither false nor true, an option the Truth-O-Meter fails to provide for.
  • PolitiFact’s objections to the characterization of Obamacare putting bureaucrats before doctors and patients ignore Obamacare’s expansion of pay-for-performance programs—which will reduce Medicare payments to doctors who do not follow guidelines defined by federal bureaucrats—as well as the board of 15 unelected officials created by Obamacare who will make rulings reducing Medicare spending.
Only seconds ago government was in the middle, now it's in first place! But there's a mixed-metaphor hazard just ahead... Really, the point seems to be that it's wrong to ask physicians to be accountable. That's only for working-class folk like teachers.
  • PolitiFact’s objections to talk that Obamacare relies on reduced Medicare spending to fund its coverage expansions ignore comments from Nancy Pelosi—that firebrand conservative—who admitted that Democrats “took half a trillion dollars out of Medicare in [Obamacare], the health care bill, already.”
Yes, when Pelosi shows up on CNBC it's like the Pope speaking ex cathedra: it makes her infallible. Then again maybe you could have looked at—sorry—Politifact.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Swift, but not swiftest

Good night, peeps.

Emoprognosis: Will end in tears

Getting stoned before it was mainstream. Sorry, that's pretty cheap. Uncredited image (20th-c. Greek?) from some larcenous Christian's blog.
On Saturday came the stately March On or About Washington, the first of two commemorations of the 1963 March On Washington, an often moving ceremony, and a bizarre Internet storm around a series of Tweets from David Sirota, who wanted to tell us how Dr. Martin Luther King would have felt if he had been able, like Tom Sawyer, to attend the service, which quickly degenerated from dumb to dreadful as he stumbled into lecturing black people on the subject of what black people think.

Playing at the positives

Cute Finnish girl Pilar O'Flaherty and her equally adorable mom Baroness Olga von Augenstein from Ghana.
Watched by Mr. Pierce, so I don't have to:
DAVID BROOKS: Well, let me play at the positives, because I want to ask you something Congressman Labrador just said. We are still an amazingly talented country. You go to schools, you've got kids named Juan Hernandez Goldberg floating around there, mixtures of all these different ethnicities. We're really tolerant compared to other countries. And we still have these fantastic stories. I just had lunch with a woman named Katie who was from a not great family, she's homeless, spends part her time homeless, decides she's going to enlist in the navy, the enlistment officer says, "No, you shouldn't enlist in the navy, you should go to Annapolis." She graduates this year number one academically in her class, she gets a Rhodes Scholarship, she runs track, she's a Marine. You run across these stories all the time and they still are endemic to the way we live.
Jan van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece:
 Angel musicians with positive organ, 15th
century. Wikimedia Commons.
Wow! Like my zayde used to say, only in America could a Jew be mayor of Dublin! Or could you become a track-star Marine at Annapolis (this turns out to be real—I had no idea the Marines didn't have their own academy—but why don't they, are they too working class?).

Only in America could The New York Times find an Italian named Jonathan Wajskol, a Brazilian named Carla Greeb, a Colombian called Alain de Beaufort, and a German called Xiaoning Wang who all decline to become US citizens because permanent residency is enough (though a couple of subjects relented so they could vote for Obama, sorry Brooksy).

It's because we're so tolerant, of the not-great and the part-time homeless. And that kind of thing is endemic, if not quite epidemic yet. What did Congressman Labrador just say? I have a banana in my ear.

Airborne elephant watch: Egypt is still there, over to the left

Photo by Gregory Colbert.
Did I tell you? Did I tell you? Not here, perhaps, but over at BooMan's place, where the elevated tone often inspires me to non-snark: The "Egyptian military" consists of more than one phenomenon. The generals, who gladly threw Mubarak's person under the bus when he was no longer able to rule, continue to espouse his ideology, which [jump]

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Le monocle de mon oncle

Image by Heart-Eating Mermaid.
It's easy for people to hate the New York Times, but how many of you can drip with contempt for famed journalist of the Edwardian era Steven Erlanger, still miraculously alive and serving as the New York Times London bureau chief? Or get through a first paragraph, for that matter, without drifting into a dreamland populated by Proustian mustaches and monocles?

Yesterday Erlanger showed his American stuff by going to Paris in August, like nobody in history who has ever hoped to speak to a French person in a good mood, to [jump]

The Anti-Person Movement

Sunday morning spirituality:

Occurred to me listening to a beautifully done NPR story on the desire for death from the point of view of a hospice director: the "pro-life" movement in its coherent Roman Catholic form (opposing also death as a punishment for crime, as opposed to the incoherent redneck Protestant version which is only about punishing women) is really an anti-person movement, valuing the abstract property of "life itself" over the concrete living human.

Thus it doesn't just give preference to the fetus, an organism incapable of love or judgment hooked up to a natural feeding tube, over the woman carrying it; but also to the "livingness" of the person over the person him- or herself, regardless of whether it is of value to that person or not. The pro-life movement doesn't care how much you're suffering—it cares about whether God would be insulted by your making the decision for Him.
Boceto para la Muerte de San José. Francisco Goya, ca 1787. Wikipedia.
And it's of a piece with the great exception to the Catholic reverence for life, which is in the conduct of your "just war". Human life must take a back seat to something more abstract still, the lives of states (and states in turn should yield to the greatest corporate entity of the Church, the "mystical body"—i.e., not a real physical body—of Christ).

It's a coherent view, but it's wrong. And creepy. And informed not by charity, caritas, but contempt.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Empire Strikes Out

That's Chris ("Count") Chocola joining in by holographone.
Looks like the wunderkind economics genius Paul Ryan (Ultramontane-WI) has put away the things of a child and left his old comrades the Young Guns in favor of a new pop culture exercise referred to as, believe it or not, the Jedi Council: meeting weekly in Jeb Hensarling's office with Tom Price, Jim Jordan, and more recently Steve Scalise of the Republican Study Committee. The boys claim to have arranged the parachute drop off the edge of Fiscal Bluff at the beginning of the year and they're currently trying to get a new show on stage. Good luck!
Tuffy the parachuting koala (who is not a bear). Photo by Anthony Thyssen.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Beware the poison Goldfarb...

A classic little bit of involuntary McCarthyism:
Clearly J Street must be a front for fondlers, huh? Actually, as a congressman Bob Filner took considerably more money off Colorado's Iranian-American Community. Why not say "Anti-Ayatollah, alleged sexual harasser"?

Because Colorado's Iranian-American Community isn't worthy to be a target of the Free Beacon's, and Goldfarb's, hatred.
From EarthLife.

Cheap shots and medical advice

He's just asking on behalf of a friend:
Depends on what kind of drunk. If she's passed out, you should see a doctor. No, for yourself. Also, how does she feel about you when she's sober? If she thinks you're a faux-feminist rodeo clown, you might be Dr. Phil. [jump]

Thursday, August 22, 2013

White House Fool Report: National conversation

Fuck yeah, Mr. P! Matty's right. The man's been dead since Wednesday night, and you still haven't said a word! Why, when Trayvon Martin got himself killed you were out there with your national conversating inside of 18 months! What's wrong with you? You don't care when elderly people get killed? Or is it just elderly white people?

What I suggest is that you need to get out in front on this one, pronto, before it does you any more damage with the all-important Drudge community.  I won't tell you how to begin and end your speech, but somewhere it needs to contain some verbage like the following:
You know, folks, if I had a grandfather he might look a lot like Delbert Belton. In fact, back when I used to have grandfathers, one of them looked a lot like Delbert Belton; he was a white World War II vet, too, and came from the American heartland, but because we believed in our old people in those days, he was able to move to Hawaii and die of natural causes. Which is as it should be.
Too many people nowadays look at a man like Delbert Belton and say, uh-oh, there he goes with his World War II stories. Maybe I should cross to the other side of the street, or roll up the car window, or maybe just whip out my gun and shoot him.
But Delbert wasn't threatening to bore anybody. Delbert wasn't lurking in the dark wearing a hoodie or talking on a cell phone. He was just quietly collecting his Social Security which Al and Erskine have decided you young folks can't have because people insist on living on it instead of investing it in stocks. And is that why he died? 
Ladies and gentlemen, the thugs who killed him didn't even have a gun! And one of them was a non-Hispanic white guy! But that doesn't mean what they did was right.
So, as I say, we need to have a national conversation about this. We need to ask ourselves if we've valued black teenagers too much and given too little attention to our older white citizens, the ones who vote in every single election and buy the products advertised on CNN, thus keeping our nation going. Do it for Delbert, people. God bless.
It'll take courage, given the power of the special interests, the cronies, the anti–old white person lobby in our country. But you need to do the right thing.
Don't bring pain, bring pizza! Ossie Davis and Spike Lee, 1989.

Redline update

Pale Blue, Red Line. Mary Didoardo, 2011-12.
Just a quick note: I've noticed people have started writing it as one word: "Redline".

I've been baffled by the importance assigned by Obama in the first place and the rest of the world behind him to the question of whether the Syrian regime is or isn't using chemical weapons. Given the scale of the killing, what on earth difference could it make? Like "OK, I'll let you go this time, but don't you dare kill anybody whose name starts with an F."

My theory was the president had just meant to draw a line between reality and a decision he didn't want to go near, assuming Assad never would bring out the chemical weapons—that Assad and his thugs couldn't be as crazy as they have regrettably turned out to be.

But the use of chemical weapons has a real-world meaning that I've just understood for the first time, thanks to BBC (can't find the specific story online): because of treaty obligations, Russia cannot ignore it at the Security Council and it may make a resolution possible. FWIW.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Some even say Afghans are people of color too.
Farzana Wahidy/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
I promised notorious Zoroastrofascist Trita Parsi (right-wingers say he's an agent of Ayatollah Khamenei but the truth is even worse: plotting to restore the ancient Media, which is not the mainstream one) that I would register my protest against the mistreatment by UK authorities of David Miranda, who was detained and harrassed for nine hours at Heathrow Airport, London, en route between Berlin and Rio de Janeiro.

I had noted to Trita that what happened to Miranda was not exactly the same as what happened to Anna Politkovskaya, and he had replied, more or less, that [jump]

Monitor wizards

Crocodile Monitor Lizard, San Diego Zoo.
Peter Cunningham, former apple-cheeked something or other in the Department of Education under Arne Duncan, writes on the subject of Diane Ravitch:
Over the years, her criticism of the administration became more and more strident. It was increasingly clear that she was not interested in a genuine conversation with us but rather was interested in driving her anti-administration message, even if it meant resorting to tactics that are beneath someone of her stature: ad hominem attacks on [jump]

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Don't that grate the cake!

Chef Christina Tosi for The Avid Baker.
Robert J. Shiller on big corporatist government and innovative individual initiative:
In the end, our business was successful, and I think a big part of it was that we relied on our own ideas and energy and, to a large extent, our own money. In 2002, we sold the business to Fiserv Inc., then licensed Standard & Poor’s to create what are now known as the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. In 2006, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange began trading futures on 11 of our indexes. Fiserv sold the index business to CoreLogic early this year.
Fine for those who have "our own money" and whose only ambition is to sweep up more of those cake crumbs.

What about people who want to make something worth making?

Like, remember how we used to hear all the time about how government stifles pharmaceutical innovation? How billions of lives have been saved by our fervently capitalist drug companies because our government used to leave them alone?

Not really.

The authors of a study published Feb. 10 in the New England Journal of Medicine count 153 new drugs and vaccines from public sector research institutes over the past 40 years. They include Remicade (infliximab), considered a giant step forward in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, and Lyrica (pregabalin), used to treat pain neuropathy, fibromyalgia and pain from shingles.
“Not only do federal funding programs, such as those from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, advance the scientific knowledge base of the country, but they contribute practical advances that can help people and create economic opportunity,” said study author Ashley J. Stevens, a lecturer at the Boston University School of Medicine and senior research associate at the university’s Institute of Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization....
More than half were to treat or prevent cancer or infectious diseases. And many were fast-tracked to approval, suggesting that their effect was considered substantial. The therapeutic effect of these public sector-developed drugs will likely be disproportionately large, the researchers said.
(h/t Jared Bernstein for inspiration)

Here we go again

Image from
Host David Gregory asked Kelly if more Americans would die if the judge’s ruling — which Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s (I) administration has already appealed — were to stand and the program be dismantled. Kelly replied, “No question about it, violent crime will go up,” before launching into a more extensive defense of stop and frisk premised on higher crime rates among minorities... (ThinkProgress)
Mr. Bloomberg has often credited stop-and-frisk with bringing the murder rate to an all-time low. But if crime and street stops were strongly related, the murder rate would have gone up last year, when stops went down by about 20 percent (Times)
Instead of which:
In 2012, murders fell to an all time low, at 414 for the year. 2013 is on track to have fewer. (Wikipedia) 
You're selling yourself short, Ray.

I'm really starting to wonder if the Commish might not have been inhaling too much lead in those bad old days, because he seems to have developed a learning disability that he didn't have back then.


From BooMan Tribune, explaining maybe better than I could do with a normal post how I feel about the NSA horror show. I expect the brilliant and exceedingly well-informed Tarheel Dem (I don't often have courage to disagree with him, and much more often don't disagree at all) will be replying to my last over there, where you can keep following it if you're interested.
Big Data. From the GoodData blog.
Techies were always there on issues of privacy and of course drugs. They vote Republican because of taxes. They're only being political about privacy now because it's suddenly a Republican issue, and because the Snowden revelations reveal that rich white boys can be spied on. (Though in fact it's no likelier than it ever was.)
by yastreblyansky on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 01:45:35 PM EST
Parent | Reply to This ]

You're saying there's a "rich white boy" block on NSA searches?

50 states, 210 media markets, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts
by TarheelDem on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 01:47:25 PM EST
Parent | Reply to This |  ]

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Nails in the tires

The good old days, when Dan Bongino had government health insurance, instead of being forced by the president to buy private health insurance that was somehow not, or something. From Muscle & Fitness. I'm not kidding!
Is Maryland Republican and former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino dumb?

1. Well, he's running for the House of Representatives from a website entitled

Daniel Bongino for U.S. Senate

I guess he's just being thrifty. Had a perfectly good website when he was running for Senate last year, why throw it away?

2. His campaign slogan is "Making Maryland Home Again". [jump]

Doesn't mean they themselves are miserable

Did I just hear someone being uncivil? Image from Sardonicky.
David Brooks, via Driftglass:
Then the second thing to be said is I do cover politics very closely. I interview politicians every single day. I would say they're better than our system. If you spend a lot of time with them, then you get uplifted because they're actually decent people. They are usually in it for the right reason. They're caught in a pretty miserable system right now but that doesn't mean they themselves are miserable. They're trying their best within the system that exists around them. Actually, I find the people who are away from politics, who just sort of look at it on cable TV, are more cynical than the people who are actually in the middle of it. Many of them are doing remarkable work for the right reasons.
I.e., if you could hobnob with the élite the way I do instead of being an ill-informed ordinary person, you'd have a clearer sense of how beautifully our democracy is working!

Townhall hates situational ethics

Scare quotes say it all, don't they? From a PowerPoint showing how every time somebody tells a lie in the Old Testament there's some excuse for it but lying is never justified. Missing Genesis 2:15 to 3:5, where YHWH falsely tells Adam the fruit of the tree of knowledge is a poison that will kill him within 24 hours and the Serpent calls him on it.
Townhall is touting a new Pew poll with the following headline:

Pew: “Only 15% of the Public Thinks That Having an Abortion is Morally Acceptable”

Well, hm. That's actually 38% who believe that having an abortion is either (a) morally acceptable or (b) not a moral issue at all. Still, 49% say that abortion is [jump]

Friday, August 16, 2013

To health with all of you

National Review is getting worse than the New Heritage Foundation (tastes like a breath mint! works like a Jimde Mint!). A recent post tells us about a devastating survey result:
aForbes contributor Merrill Matthews has noted, a recent survey of some 2,500 federal employees discovered that 92.3 percent of them want to keep their existing coverage and avoid Obamacare.

“Leave our healtcare program alone NO Obamacare!!!” commented one participant (unedited, like all those quoted here) in this study, conducted by, which tracks federal affairs. Another respondent said, “The only federal employees that should go into the exchanges are the ones the voted for this president. I saw through his smoke screen and mirrors.” A third federal employee remarked: “Obama care disgusts me! The exchanges are fraud with inept, incompetent morons set to access my personal information! Repeal NOW!!!!!”
What they don't explain, although it's easy enough to follow the link and find out for yourself, is the survey methodology. This was done by an online publication for federal workers called FedSmith inviting their readers to tell them how they felt. So it's not any kind of valid sample of anything. And it was administered on August 8, before the idiocy surrounding the Grassley Amendment was resolved, when the workers might well have feared they were going to have to pony up personally for their premiums, now clearly not the case. These numbers say nothing whatever about anybody but the people who read this rag. Which given the existence of real newspapers like Federal Daily and Gannett's Federal Times cannot be very many people.

Still and all, last October they only supported Romney 56% to 40%, so maybe they're not as biased as they look. Or maybe they just have fewer readers, week by famished week.
Smoke and Mirrors. Austin School of Film.

Steyn for candidate!

Image apparently used by Hugh Hewitt, entitled "Mark Steyn after Dismissal". 
Mark, Marquess of Steyn, purveyor of the high Brideshead tone to the National Review, is the victim of an apparent punk campaign to draft him into running for the United States Senate from New Hampshire. There's a petition that has already gathered 208 signatures!

Although I think the Constitution suggests senators should not be Canadian citizens.
MS I'm a citizen of Canada, never been anything else. I don't believe in dual citizenship.
LF So if you ever require rescuing by the Canadian government, you'll deserve it?
MS I can assure you that if I'm ever calling the Canadian consulate in some godforsaken hell demanding that HMCS Toronto come and get me, it won't be because I've called five other embassies in the previous 20 minutes.
[The source of this interview, National Post, doesn't put dates on its stories, on the grounds, I suppose, that to their readers it's always news, but nothing online suggests he's changed his mind.]
Don't tell Kathryn Jean!
When he used to write for McLean's,  and made some efforts in the direction of the selfie T-shirt business. Via Creekside.

A recent example of the famously sophisticated Steyn wit, on the subject of the president's extravagant vacation:
If the President and Bo decide to take a dip, I do hope they’ve beefed up aquatic security by a few hundred extra Secret Submariners in case the waters off Masachusetts are menaced by the same testicle-eating fish currently terrorizing Sweden.
I hope his lordship is well protected too, since the creatures are just as likely to turn up in his New Hampshire bathtub.

Cheap shots: Really bad intel

Reputed Moshiach, via Yeshiva World.
And only one oratorio and that one oratorio is by Mr. Händel:
A baby named “Messiah” must be renamed, according to a judge in Tennessee, because Messiah is a ‘earned’ title in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Grifting along with the tide

South Carolina State Senator Lee "None-too" Bright is going to primary Linsey-Woolsy Graham, who is apparently too far left for South Carolina.

 From the announcement:
“During the recess, when I would hope that he would be around folks in South Carolina getting their feelings on so many issues that affect their lives, [jump]

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Then we take out the Taliban Coast Guard

Semi-eminent classicist and amateur hyperventilator Victor Davis Hanson (the name sounds like a white-shoe agency but he is apparently just one person) is in darkly prophetic mood over in The Corner:
Next year could be a frightening one, in the fashion of 1979–80.... The Obama administration is debating no-fly zones over Syria; more likely, it will have the same discussion over Afghanistan soon, once the Taliban drops the diplomatic veneer and comes back into town.
More likely than what? It seems most unlikely that the administration will be talking about no-fly zones in Afghanistan as long as the Taliban has no aircraft. That's all the [jump]

Monday, August 12, 2013

Food Scamps

Jason's Facebook picture, before he lost the goatee and became a Bad Person, 2010.
It's not just T-Bone bucks and Cadillac mamas abusing your hard-earned tax dollars, sheeple. Fox News boldly went out investigating and found white people doing it too. In fact they only found white people doing it, or one white person to be exact, which suggests either that it wasn't that easy, or else John Roberts didn't feel comfortable leaving the beach.

Why bother getting a job when you can jam out, surf and enjoy sushi with your bros, thanks to government food stamps? [jump]

Damn Methodists. Never would have happened in a Christian hospital.

Glue Gun Suicide. By Zanwell at DeviantArt.
A Texas man fatally shot himself inside a Houston hospital room over the weekend not long after his wife had given birth.
KHOU reported that the wife gave birth at the Willowbrook Methodist Hospital on Sunday. And then hours later, the man committed suicide while in that same room with his wife....
According to the hospital’s Patient Guide, the campus is a “gun-free zone” and “weapons of any kind are strictly forbidden.” (Raw Story)
Just goes to show how banning guns is a lethal mistake. If only someone in the building had been packing heat, they could have stopped this tragedy from happening: "OK, drop the gun or I'll..." Oh, wait. 

All together now

Image via Gluteeny.

Thomas P. Friedman, better known as Thomas L. Friedman, the Mystax Universalis, had an interesting experience, talking to some Arab people instead of their rulers and financiers for a a change (no taxi driver jokes here, please, I'm pretty sure I've established that Friedman has almost never spoken to an actual taxi driver):
It’s been a fascinating journey because it forced me to look at the Middle East through the lens of Arab environmentalists instead of politicians. When you do that, you see the problems and solutions very differently. Environmentalists always start by thinking about [jump]

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The business of promoting your party

Reince and repeat. Image from AddictingInfo.
David Edwards at Raw Story:
In letters to NBC Entertainment and CNN last week, Priebus had threatened to not allow the networks to host any Republican presidential primary debates unless plans to air shows about Clinton were scrapped.
Priebus later explained to Fox News host Sean Hannity that he as attempting to “control the referees” because CNN and NBC were “not in the business of promoting our party.”
And there just happens to be a network that is in the business of promoting your party, and they'd love to do the debates, huh?

How laws aren't passed

Uncredited image from DocuWatch.
Eric Lipton at the New York Times on business as perhaps a little more than usual at the House Financial Services Committee:
Now, half a year into his first term, [Andy Barr, R-KY] has emerged as a telling example of why the panel is sometimes called “the cash committee” — a place, critics say, where there are big incentives for freshmen to do special favors for the industry.

Mr. Barr, 40, a first-time elected official, has raised nearly as much money this year from political action committees run by major banks, credit unions and insurance companies as longtime lawmakers like Speaker John A. Boehner and other party leaders.
That's $150,000 in six months. And I really hate when they say "both sides do it" but in this case it would be kind of hard to deny:
After the elections in November, Democratic Party leaders gave a PowerPoint presentation urging their freshman members to spend as much as four hours a day making fund-raising calls while in Washington, and an additional hour of “strategic outreach” holding breakfasts or “meet and greets” with possible financial supporters. That adds up to more time than these first-term lawmakers were advised to spend on Congressional business.
BooMan breaks down for you how corrupt it is. For the cui bono question, I'd just refer you to what I wrote a little over a year ago.

Plus (thanks, Boo):
Most congressional seats are so safe they wouldn't need to advertise if it did work. What they get out of the system is status in their little club, from flaunting it and from passing it out to the lowlier members.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sixteen Scandals: Defiance

Story by Katrina Trinko in The Corner, in its entirety:
Steve King called for charities struggling to get 501 (c)(3) status to “defy the IRS.”
Both tea-party and pro-life groups have faced struggles in getting the IRS to give them tax-exempt status.
“If you’re a 501 (c)(3) and you’re afraid of the IRS, just go ahead and defy the IRS on that!” King declared during a speech at The Family Leader summit.
“I’ll stand there with you,” the Iowa congressman added. 
Leaving aside the question of whether "struggle" is the appropriate word for having to fill out kind of a lot of forms and lie about how you're really a social welfare organization and not involved in politics, and leaving aside the fact that many groups not affiliated with Tea Party or anti-choice movements have had to "struggle" in the same way, I want to know exactly what form this defiance, with Steve standing there, is going to take. Will they insist on paying the taxes they've been exempted from?

If Iran the Circus

Persian of the Circus. Jack Butler Yeats, via.
Amos Yadlin and Avner Golov in the New York Times:
But it would be dangerous to think that Iran’s proposal for negotiations alone would pave the way for a deal. What matters is not the talks but the outcome.
Classic Israeli diplomatic strategy: Never enter negotiations unless you can predetermine how they come out.*
the enrichment of uranium from a low level (3.5 percent to 19.75 percent) to weapons-grade level (90 percent) is only one of three dimensions of Iran’s nuclear strategy. A second dimension is [jump]

The Noodge Debate

Nurse. Irving Penn, 1951. Via Disdressed.
Shorter David Brooks, "The Nudge Debate", New York Times, August 8, 2013:
People do stupid stuff.
The government should make them stop.
But that would be liberal, wouldn't it?
What if they noodged them into stopping?
A nanny state, but a nice nanny.
A Mary Poppins state.
A Jewish Mary Poppins!
What's not to like?
I've used this picture before but can't find out when or where it comes from; I added it by mistake. It really belongs here though by some peculiar visual logic.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Extra cheap

Nonsense! If the bill was going to pay for people to "get hung" it would have gotten more Republican votes.