Thursday, October 31, 2013

More insurance fraud

As you know, I'm collecting examples of people claiming they liked it and couldn't keep it and giving those claims a bit of a closer look. Today's (Happy Halloween!) Obamacare victim is Sue Klinkhamer, a 60-year-old former Democratic congressional staffer from St. Charles, Illinois:
When Klinkhamer lost her congressional job, she had to buy an individual policy on the open market.
Three years ago, it was $225 a month with a $2,500 deductible. Each year it went up a little to, as of Sept. 1, $291 with a $3,500 deductible. Then, a few weeks ago, she got a letter. [jump]

Monday, October 28, 2013


Image from Exophrine.

Posted in comments at Emptywheel,10/28/13, on the Greenwald-Keller debate, though directed only to a point Marcy makes about the representation of white privileged perspectives; I've laid out parts of this argument elsewhere but I think I've put it together particularly well here:
I’m not the voice of color either, nor certainly the voice of Bill Keller either, thank God, but I’ve been paying enough attention to the former to have a feeling that the issue cuts a couple of different ways. First, right or wrong, many people [jump]

Monday morning cheap shot

Just hooked him in the cheek that one time. Bad cast.
Dressed for defensive bass fishing with Dick "Largemouth" Cheney. Note the symbolic representation of emergent Liz. Via.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Why does Obama want you to have low testosterone?

And other conspiracies.

From an "opinion piece" by "Bill Tatro" in Townhall on our anti-colonial president. What's interesting to paranoia aficionados is the "1 weird trick" ad, which turns out to come in special right-wing editions. Who knew? And who knew Obama was to blame for your rundown feeling and lack of sex drive? I guess you knew, Mr. RWNJ, didn't you?

Mr. Tatro is possibly the only right-wing writer I've seen openly opposed to the American Revolution:

Star chamber

Ceiling of the Star Chamber, Palace of Westminster. The decoration is said to be the reason for the room's name.
Human rights attorney Jesselyn Radack is a hero, but she is an attorney, and she's using some loaded attorney language here:

What exactly do you mean by "this", Counsel? I would say it is more precisely like the end of the Star Chamber. Because when Charles I was using the Court of Star Chamber in the 1630s to punish Puritan subversives he was definitely using techniques familiar to victims of [jump]

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sir Winston, you are drunk!

"Joe" the "Plumber" and his awesomely vile tweet as captured in Talking Points Memo:

To his remark about the history of the Democratic Party I would like to offer the Winston Churchill comeback: Yes, Joe, and Republicans have a history of favoring the gold standard. But we Democrats got over our problem 60 years ago, when we lost Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond.

Cheap shots and googledipities

From Infidel753.
Found poem

From a Salon headline, with just a couple of tweaks:

Liberal Pundit Fail

Rush to attack Obamacare site
Can only aid unhingèd right.

Angela Merkel, Rahm Emanuel, Michael Hayden, and much, much more below:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Not so Quiet on the Rose-Garden Front


Mr. President, I think that war on journalists may not be going so well...

Or maybe "war" isn't quite the right term. Oval-Office Contingency Operations?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

And they're shooting down people applying from their mobiles at Danziger Bridge

Because how comfy can you get inside an insurance policy? Image from Pertinent Perils.
Yes, virtually identical. As we mourn the 1,833 people who have died from the ravages of Obamacare over the past three weeks, the 200,000 homes destroyed, the 800,000 rendered homeless, the $150 billion in economic damage, we have to ask ourself once again: Doesn't God do enough harm? Why should our president get in the act as well?

Oh, one other difference: This time President Bush wasn't forced to interrupt his vacation. Also it is rumored that some people may be getting some affordable health insurance. Which is strange when you come to think about it: wouldn't you think they'd prefer some nice FEMA trailers?
Image from FoodMusicJustice.
h/t @gn192 for the inspiration.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Three years of what?

Updated 10/25 (see second footnote)
Updated 11/2
Photo by Kelly Hunt, Maryland.
For example, in Insurance Journal:
“They don’t seem to be addressing these problems quickly enough. They’ve had three years to get their ducks in a row. It gets to the point where it becomes inexcusable. And we’re not at that point yet. But we’re getting close to it,” said a senior Democratic aide in Congress.
Or the Daily Mail:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oh, no, I'm a good ranter! Just a very bad think tank director.

Jim Demint at the Heritage Foundation seems increasingly intent on founding a personality cult over there, as he ditches more and more of the old shop's "ideas" (imitation, no doubt, but the conservatives found them comfy) in favor of simple expressions of inchoate terror (basically, "Obama gonna get you ef you don't watch out") and spite. Today at the Foundry he appears in a video of the speech he gave at the Value Voters Summit a week ago (that's how long it's been available online, too, and I'd imagine everybody that wants to watch it has had plenty of opportunity by now), with a teaser signed by the obviously fictional "Crystal Goodremote" announcing the speech without giving the date, as if to suggest that it might be brand new:
Freedom means that people should be able to make their own decisions, but that freedom is not achievable when government forces values upon its people, said Heritage President Jim DeMint at the Values Voter Summit.
“As we cringe at what’s going on in Washington today, particularly with Obamacare, it should remind us that every time Washington tries to control another part of our lives it creates division and diminishes the love that Americans have for our country,” DeMint said.
It strikes me as possible that the entire staff may have quit (presumably they all want health insurance) and he's running the whole show by himself, like Frank Morgan as Oz the Great and Terrible serving as his own sentry, coachman, doorman, and disembodied head.

The audience he now aims at is well represented by the lone commenter at the post, who calls himself "Bobbie":
It's such a waste of the human mind when everyone has their own that learns from each other without any need for government people to control/influence/encourage or discourage. People are tolerant of each other where this government of people promotes zero as their activist controlled media shows seething desperation to convince what is acceptable be taken offensively and insultingly. Where do they get off?
Indeed. I think I'm getting off right here. Please don't take it offensively or insultingly, I just feel this sudden need to be alone.

Election affinities update

Socialist beer in Bielefeld: "Poor or rich, beer is here for all alike."  From Schnipselfriedhof.
On the aftermath of September's parliamentary elections in Germany, a quick and painless "I told you so." When the international press screamed "romp to victory" for Chancellor Merkel and "personal vindication" and what not, I looked at the [jump]

Pay it retrociprocally

Restaurant Oliviera, Nice. Photo by Mong789.

In his Elementary Structures of Kinship (1948, English version 1969) Claude Lévi-Strauss described the then commonplace phenomenon of solitary diners in a Provençal lunch place sitting at adjacent tables, or sharing a table for two. Each has a little pichet of red wine and a glass at his place setting, but instead of pouring himself a glass ("himself" because it's hardly going to be a woman eating alone, in southern France in the 1940s), he pours one for the stranger, who pours one for him in turn. Because society, as Lévi-Strauss learned from his great teacher Marcel Mauss, is made up of acts of motivated and unmotivated exchange, this economically meaningless gesture creates a sociality on the spot that doesn't have to go anywhere, a moment of human community.

I was reminded of this famous moment in the history of structural anthropology by a tweet that showed up today: [jump]

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Are we loosening up a little?

Pretty interesting and startling—our ambassador to UK, Matthew Barzun, was asked by the BBC to criticize The Guardian for publishing the Snowden leaks but didn't take the bait :
he said he wanted to focus on the "importance of having this debate about what the trade-offs are between security and privacy, between transparency and secrecy, and to do so in a way that protects whistleblowers – which is different, by the way, from wholesale releasing of information, hundreds of thousands of documents". [jump]

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Ancients and Moderns. September 17, Riverside Park South.
I wrote a true poem today, something that doesn't happen often, and I think I will do no more blogging for at least a significant number of hours. It's only a single couplet in translation, but from an incredibly gnarly language that I don't understand at all well, Latin—my first draft was a kind of command-and-control chart trying to establish the opaque relationships among all the individual words, not to mention sorting out the long and short vowels—and I think it really works.

The original is from the twitterbio of my Nova Scotian Tweep Jack Mitchell:
Me defles tua perraro bis tweetere verba? / Et tibi neglecto, Zoile, praesideo.
And the translation is as follows:
Do you deplore how rarely I retweet you?
Zoilus, I'm just afraid folks might mistreat you.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A trick or two

Peter Martins choreography for Stravinsky's Jeu de Cartes, New York City Ballet, via.
A compelling little bit of linguistic strangeness in the aftermath of Senator Reid's remark on Senator Vitter:
 “He just is just not playing with a full deck. Something is wrong there.” Vitter shot back in a statement to HuffPost saying, “Unfortunately, the deck I’m playing with in the Harry Reid Senate is quite full -– of jokers.”
Vitter is just trying to be quick-witted here, putting out a statement that is only meant to sound nasty, not to have any particular meaning, like your argumentative early-adolescent son who thinks the most devastating comeback is to repeat what you just said with one of the words changed.

But he betrays a curious misunderstanding of what the idiom (most properly, I think, "not dealing from a full deck") and others like it ("a couple of bananas short of a bunch...") are about, namely, one's own endowment of gifts or skills: the insulter is saying that you're in some sense not all there. But in Vitter's usage the cards aren't in his hand, as it were, but out on the Senate floor; the idiom has become about the people you work with, as if colleagues were just material to be manipulated; and he's complaining that the Democratic senators aren't in some way "good" enough to let him manipulate them. If you don't do what Vitter wants (like acquiescing in the mistreatment of your support staff re health benefits), you're a "joker".

There's something similar to what Reid noticed in Cruz, in the same interview:
Cruz is a smart man, but he “has still not accepted” that he’s in the Senate and can’t constantly be talking down to people as if they’re not on his level. [Reid] added, “He might be able to work a calculus problem better than I can. But he can’t legislate better than I can.”
Cruz wants to work with people the way he might work with symbols on paper or perhaps game tokens, shoving them into place and performing his algorithms. It's the same "conservative" or psychopathic difficulty in recognizing the humanity—the agency—of the other person (of which Reid, in contrast, is liberally, sometimes infuriatingly, aware).

Also, too: Cruz as brilliantly quoted by Chris Cilizza in today's Wapo as "summarizing Cruz's approach to politics in just one sentence:
 “I’m not serving in office because I desperately needed 99 new friends in the U.S. Senate.”

Mustache watch

Image via That's Normal.
Robert Kuttner's inflammatory headline:

Tom Friedman’s Worst Column Ever

a column that is such complete baloney it makes you want to retch. Rather than risking soiling my shoes, here is a point-by-point rebuttal to Friedman’s opus du jour, titled: “Sorry, Kids. We Ate It All.”
Friedman’s column swallows whole the budgetary malarkey of the corporate Fix-the-Debt lobby and its Wall Street sponsors. Namely, the reduced horizons of the next generation are the result of the gluttony of old folks—and of unions.
But what makes this piece especially appalling (and emblematic) is that the hero of Friedman’s piece is one Stanley Druckenmiller, a hedge-fund billionaire who has appointed himself as the Paul Revere of deficit reduction to warn America’s college students that The Seniors Are Coming. In passing, Friedman discloses that Druckenmiller is also “a friend.” 
To which one can only say, "Oh, really? That's all you got, Robert?"

Yes, pretty bad no doubt, but can it compete with "Vote France off the Island" from February 2003??? which begins by proposing that the permanent membership of the UN Security Council should be elected by "fans" who would replace France with India—not because India represents a sixth of the world's population and is so very hotflat'n'crowded, but because he thinks it would take a more positive attitude toward the need to invade Iraq. You may take an analysis of what's wrong with the penultimate graf—
The French position is utterly incoherent. The inspections have not worked yet, says Mr. de Villepin, because Saddam has not fully cooperated, and, therefore, we should triple the number of inspectors. But the inspections have failed not because of a shortage of inspectors. They have failed because of a shortage of compliance on Saddam's part, as the French know. The way you get that compliance out of a thug like Saddam is not by tripling the inspectors, but by tripling the threat that if he does not comply he will be faced with a U.N.-approved war
—as a homework assignment. A triple-threat (indeed) combination of moral, intellectual, and literary failure such as the Mystax Mundi has often approached, but I think never equalled. Just saying. Not that you shouldn't read Guttman's analysis there.

Cheap shots: Welcome back Government!

From How to Explain Me.
Worst thing since slavery. Except maybe twerking.

When the African American neurosurgeon and remarkable political thinker Dr. Ben Carson told the Values Voter Summit that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was the "worst thing that has happened in this country since slavery," the comedians inevitably came out like earthworms after the gentle rain. The win, in my view, goes to LOLGOP:
Kunta Kinte, Oprah, Congressman Charlie Debt and Congressman Marsha Blackburn, and much much (well, some) more below the fold!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Conservatives scared her crazy

As reported by NPR:
In one of the strangest moments of a strange few weeks on Capitol Hill, a House stenographer broke into a rant about God, the Constitution and Freemasonry as representatives cast their votes Wednesday on a deal to reopen the government.
From the 2012 Olympic ceremonies in London; aroused somebody's paranoia in a big way.


High Heel Sneakers, Broadway and 81st St., September 14.

Go to Jesus moment, 34th St., October 15.

Verrilli I say unto you

The Department of Justice doesn't know whether the warrantless wiretapping given to it as a parting gift by G.W. Bush's 110th Congress is constitutional or not, and would like to find out:
Five years after Congress authorized a sweeping warrantless surveillance program, the Justice Department is setting up a potential Supreme Court test of whether it is constitutional by notifying a criminal defendant — for the first time — that evidence against him derived from the eavesdropping, according to officials.
Prosecutors plan to inform the defendant about the monitoring in the next two weeks, a law enforcement official said. The move comes after an internal Justice Department debate in which Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. argued that there was no legal basis for a previous practice of not disclosing links to such surveillance, several Obama administration officials familiar with the deliberations said.
A couple of quick points: [jump]
Image from Jammer-Store.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

No Obamacare for you, peasants. Postscript

Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker brilliantly thought to ask Congressional staff to email him on the subject of the scheme by Senator David Vitter and others to force them onto the Obamacare Marketplace exchange without the government subsidies that will make the program work for everybody else (so that in the name of giving them "no special privileges" he wants to have them actually treated worse than the entire remaining population). Here is a sample response:
I will make $22,800 this year after taxes. That is it. I am a 30 year old married congressional staffer with a 20 month old son who depends on my job for his health insurance. My husband has to pay for his own health care through his salary, and it would cost him over $1000 a month to cover the whole family. I just started in this position 6 months ago, after being out of work for a year and staying at home with my baby. I need my health insurance, and I cannot afford to pay $600 a month for coverage. Without this so called “subsidy” (the same “subsidy” congressional staffers have been receiving for years before the ACA) both myself and my son will be uninsured. With our combined salaries, my husband and I will not qualify for subsidies via the ACA, so we would have to pay for it all out of pocket....
Much more, some of it pretty moving, at the link. I do not have any illusions that Lizza reads this page or that I had anything to do with his great story, but I do want to note that I was there first, piping my native woodnotes wild, three or so weeks ago. H/t JJ for the tip.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dope springs eternal

Updated 10/16

They really can't help themselves. The zombie story of the martyrdom of the padres ministering to our Catholic troops who might imaginably have been arrested, though it took a pretty creative mind to imagine it (I gave it quite a bit of space here and here), continues to not die. Although it is quite clearly not true.
What appears to have happened is that a Father Ray Leonard (known around the parish house, I hope, as "Father Sugar Ray")  was due to start civilian chaplaining at the [jump]
Wolf pack. From Howling for Justice.

Had to share

It's the still picture (by Dmitry Kostyukov) of the lovely Roma bride, 14, and her little groom, 13, at the end of the video, which I can't seem to appropriate into the page, funny, wrong, and beautiful, twists you up and demonstrates to you that you really don't know anything at all and can't, beyond the human individual.

Never metaphor I didn't like

NPR's Ari Shapiro thought he was the little kid at the Emperor's fashion show:

Typically the White House briefing room is a reserved place, where people wait their turn to speak. It was not my turn to speak.
But I couldn't help it.
"You see it as a ransom, but it's a metaphor that doesn't serve our purposes," I protested to Carney. "We're trying to be accurate in our description of what's going on."
Finally, I tried to sum up what we'd learned so far.
"You said we need to see whether they're serious about putting the matches and gasoline aside. You've also said they want to keep a nuclear weapon in their back pocket. So, is keeping the nuclear weapon in the back pocket the same as putting the matches and gasoline aside? Or, even better, can we stop talking matches and gasoline and nuclear weapons and start talking about what's actually happening?"
The thing is, no. There is no question that the language of our political discourse is at least as corrupt as it was in George Orwell's 1946 (if you've never read this brief essay read it now, it is far more important than anything going online today) and perhaps far worse—a catacomb for dead metaphors crawling with worms and choking with bone-dust. But it really isn't Jay Carney's job to sweep it out. To the contrary! It is his job to tell us what is going on in the White House without saying it, or to allow for a minimum of two different interpretations, a task for which the dead metaphor is ideally suited. It is the reporter's job to interpret it, including making up your own damn metaphor when you need one. Are you a writer or what? If you want the spox to supply you with the metaphors that "serve our purposes", you should have gone to secretarial school instead of J-school. Does secretarial school exist any more?

In the present case, the broad message Carney needs to present is actually very simple, and well understood by all the participants (including Shapiro, I would hope), but contradictory, or "paradoxical" to use the (incorrect) term the White House press corps would prefer: that it is an essential part of the president's negotiating strategy that he not negotiate. This is a very old political approach, going back I'm sure to the Spring and Autumn period in China, but you really can't expect Carney to stand before the gaggle and say something along the lines of, "The president stands firm in refusing to negotiate except to the extent that saying that is a form of negotiation." So he hauls out the rhetorical matches and gasoline instead.

In the case of the "ransom", it's not even a metaphor: according to Merriam Webster,

Full Definition of RANSOM

:  a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity
:  the act of ransoming
Speaker Boehner literally, not figuratively, holds the ability of the United States government to function under his control, and refuses to release it unless he gets—well, some kind of consideration, anyway, he hasn't quite made up his mind.
Still from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Sanger, not the song

Image from The Inspiration Room.
As I was about to say, I haven't been shy about expressing admiration for the New York Times's David Sanger for the quality of his reporting and synthesis; nor, hooligan that I am, have I refrained from mocking him for the curious idea that it is unsporting of the White House to tell staff not to talk to him after he published a detailed account of the secret cooperation between Israel and the US in disabling Iran's uranium purification efforts.

Not because he shouldn't have published it, but because he shouldn't have been so surprised. It's like if I'm worried, as a friend, about your binge drinking, and decide to empty the contents of your wine cellar and distribute it to the poor, I may feel myself to be

ROFLMAO to you too, pal

Saturday there was a glitch in the EBT benefits system when the Xerox Corp., which backs the it up, was running a routine test and temporarily blew up the whole program in some 17 states. Some members of the program finding their benefits cards weren't working got kind of upset, believing, not all that unreasonably given the current tone in DC, that it could be a consequence of the federal government shutdown and a general Republican plan to starve them; and Black Twitter in particular blazed up briefly in paranoia, darkly predicting riot and doom. It was over by 10:00, but the stay-up-late citizens of Gateway Pundit were just getting started on all those imaginary rioters (they're still at it two days later!), and I stupidly stopped in and could not refrain from joining the conversation.

Just so it shouldn't be a total loss, here's an especially entertaining part of the exchange (very slightly edited to get rid of some repetition by me), featuring a cool narrative time-spasm in which the linearization of the content distorts the order of entry, so that the first "do your own research" shows up after the second one:
"There's a riot going on." Jack Brummet, June 2007.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Seq relief now! Robert Costa said so!

McConnell World? Is that some kind of theme park?
Forest Park Turtle Playground, St. Louis. Photo by St. Louis Punk-Rocker.

No, wait, this explains everything! Retroactionism revisited

Rep. Morgan Griffith doing his Eric Cantor imitation, in full revolutionary snarl mode. Love the chin whiskers showing that he's not just an oik but a  pretentious oik.
One Republican congressman who is fully aware of the suffering that is being caused by the federal shutdown and will be caused by any default on the country's financial obligations is second-term Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia. But he hastens to clarify, with a Leninesque grandeur, that those are just the eggs you need to break for this particular omelette:
“We have to make a decision that’s right long-term for the United States, and what may be distasteful, unpleasant and not appropriate in the short run may be something that has to be done,” he said. Griffith, a former majority leader of the Virginia House of Delegates, cited as an example the American Revolution. [jump]


I'm putting together what may be a kind of lengthy piece on and around the subject of Leonard Downie's analysis of "The Obama Administration and the Press" written for the Committee to Protect Journalists in which I will be in danger, not for the first time, of appearing to agree with some people I absolutely can't stand and opposing some people with whom I ought to have a great deal in common, like young Kevin there, who is completely wrong on this point, and before I do I'd like to put out the following statement of clarification.
I call myself a leftist, and I like President Obama. Notice I said "and", not "but". It's not that I think Obama is a leftist (though there's always a chance the wingers are right about this one, and he's really a secret Fabian planting the socialism seeds that are going to germinate 50 or 60 years from now, if there's any part of the country left that hasn't either drowned or burned). It's that I think his nonideological-pragmatist goals are somewhat better than just compatible with my leftist ones, and that he's been really, really skillful in navigating a terrifyingly bad set of circumstances. Like Franklin Delano Roosevelt skillful, but let's-face-it like FDR nonleftist too (remember it took FDR some seven years to stop campaigning for a balanced budget, apparently in the sincere belief that it was not only possible but would do the country good). I can't agree with him on lots of stuff, as I wouldn't have been able to agree with FDR, and I can sometimes wonder if he isn't really willfully stupid on this issue or that (especially education, as readers are aware), but I can't accept that he's wrong because he's evil; say, that his military policies in West Asia and the Middle East can be truthfully described as "slaughtering Muslim children by the dozen" or that he has tasked the NSA with spying on US citizens. Gandhi and King were unquestionably far better human beings than Nehru and Johnson, but it is in some respects a good thing Nehru and Johnson were around to do some of the needful lying, manipulation, and strongarming to put some of Gandhi's and King's ideas into practice. I get along better with Obama than with Nehru or Johnson.
I do not get along with certain centripetalist Democrats who would support Obama if he ate babies for breakfast; who cheered in the last term for plans to break the Social Security compact and more recently to destroy Syria because they believed (mistakenly, as it happily turned out) that that was what he wanted, and booed the sentencing of Chelsea Manning because they thought it wasn't long enough for a "traitor" (I've said more than once that Manning should be pardoned). I'm a card-carrying ACLU member (actually I don't know where my card is, but I know how much money I send them every month, and I started doing it specifically during the 2008 presidential campaign when Senator Obama went back on his promise to vote against immunity for telecommunications companies illegally cooperating with abusive US intelligence practices; and if I'd been blogging at the time I would have posted a statement that it was money I'd otherwise have given to Obama, because that's what I had in mind; I never have given him any money, in fact, except $3 in 2012, because I'm still fairly pissed off about the way he lied to me, and singlehandedly destroyed the hard-won public presidential campaign financing system, five years ago).

But "far worse than Bush admin"? Uh, no. Not in any respect whatsoever.

Friday, October 11, 2013

In breaking news, President Obama did not play 18 holes...

Heritage idiots:

Government Shutdown: Memorials Closed, Golf Course…Open?

Many government employees are on furlough. Veterans have been barred from their memorials. Yet despite the temporary slowdown in government, there’s one thing still open: Obama’s golf course.
Last week, the President paid a visit to one of his favorite courses at Andrews Air Force Base. Obama deemed that all military installations remain operational during the shutdown, and therefore, the golf course, too.
From American Stinker, uncredited, August 26, with an article by Thomas Lifson, the magazine's publisher. 
Actually, not one veteran was ultimately barred from the World War II Memorial, and it is now open for "First Amendment Activities". I never thought I'd be citing the Daily Caller for facts, but [jump]

Cheap shots and Mullah John

Shepherd Smith in the new Fox newsroom: "Roger, I shrunk the reporters!"
Not really into the Woods

The actor James Woods was outraged earlier this week at the treatment of demonstrators demanding a new immigration law including a path to legal citizenship when thousands of them converged on the National Mall on Tuesday, more than a hundred and fifty of them being arrested, including eight members of Congress—while only a week before a group of World War II veterans had almost been prevented from visiting their own memorial on the Mall, getting their permit after they had arrived, whereas the immigration demonstrators got their permit beforehand, even though the Mall is closed by the shutdown of the Federal government. The transparent injustice of it—the way the elderly veterans almost didn't get to go while the vicious alien hooligans almost didn't get arrested—prompted him to risk all by sending a bold Tweet:
His fans quickly responded: [jump]

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Future Rape

Here's another one of the horror stories going around about how Obamacare is going to destroy your life and force everyone to listen to Nickelback.
Image via.

This is the Real Ashley Dionne, "Objectivist, writer, movie geek, aspiring actress, and freedom-loving American" 26, from Michigan, who writes in her Tumblr:
My name is Ashley Dionne and I’m a 26-year-old recent graduate from Michigan.

The phony Obamacare signup poster boy made me want to send a message about how Obamacare is really affecting people. [jump]

Jolted Joe

Revised and enlarged 10/11/13
From Politico.
As reported in ThinkProgress, former representative Joe Scarborough conversing on the television with English-accent Serious Person Niall Ferguson:
Scarborough then recalled a conversation he had with a Times editor following his televised debate with Krugman earlier this year. [jump]

Jim DeMint, Insurance Fraud

Update: I failed to enter Rod and Florence's ages correctly in the calculator, and got a false number for their monthly Obamacare premium, a little over half of what they would actually have to pay. Corrected in text. Believe me, they can still afford it.
Drawing by Charles Barsotti.
Fightin' Jim (he learned his fighting skills from Sarah Palin: Quit actually fighting and start talking about it instead while you suck up some of that wingnut welfare) DeMint writes a letter to the President:
At a time when so many Americans are suffering because of the rollout of this new law, I remain puzzled by your failure to acknowledge the faults caused by this unfair, unworkable, and unpopular measure. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Unconditional gamesmanship

Every time I realize anew that this is not just a late-night comedy meme but that this man really is drinking himself into an impaired state while nominally on the job, as you can hear in the resentful voice-break and the thickness of his tongue, and an extremely important job at that, it's kind of shocking.

I think the worst pandit-prediction I've made since starting these scribblings was around last Christmas when I was certain that Boehner was ultimately going to find his way around that fiscal pavement-cut and avoid the sequester, and I've been kind of shy about trying [jump]

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Existential Obama

Not really snark.

From Low Lai Chow, "Samuel Beckett's Motivational Quotes"

Diana Nyad for Sandy Relief

Because I was there in Herald Square and my new phone is smart. And because I've always liked her name though I wanted to spell it Naiad. And because hey.

Hugh and Cry

Powerline thought this meant we should keep trying to pay it down. Come to think of it, maybe the cartoonist did too. 
Astounding stupidity—well, maybe not that astounding—from Hugh Hewitt:
to get the gears engaged and the city moving again, an infusion of third party trust is needed.... I think it starts with a phone call from the president –to Williamsburg. The Hon. Robert Gates is the Chancellor of the College of William and Mary and of course the esteemed former Secretary of Defense under both Presidents Obama and Bush. Gates was also the former CIA director and Deputy National Security Advisor. He probably ran the the Parks Service and NIH at one point or another. He certainly ran during Texas A&M during one of his breaks from D.C., which is like running a couple or three agencies at once. Point is, he is one of those guys, one of the fabled “wise men. [missing close quotes mark and "during Texas A&M" as if it were not a university but a Chinese imperial dynasty* and italics in the original—the entire post is in italics, no doubt the entire website, to emphasize the urgent importance of everything Hewitt has to say.]
Hewitt's idea is that Gates, a certified Wise Man who has served government by both parties and negotiated with North Korea, is the man to meet with the President and the four senior leaders in Congress, perhaps with their whips and certainly with their staffs, to "forge" a "deal" in the Roosevelt room and and commit himself to the process when needed for the final blessing.  Then he lists the 20 or so provisions including a complete new proposal for immigration reform that the well-forged deal must contain, I guess because these are busy men and it would be silly to ask them to come up with any ideas when Hugh is ready to supply all the ideas they need. What Gates himself is meant to do is still not clear to me; Hugh's description makes it sound as if he's just to sit quietly as the other five guys fill in the details point by point on the Hewitt List and then, at a crucial moment, shout "Into thy hands, Process, I commend my spirit!" upon which the clouds will part in the Tiepolo sky and a Hollywood soul chorus start to sing.

Left unsaid is how this whole thing is supposed to impress the Republican Teddy Boys (named for Cruz and Yoho**). Gates is commonly referred to by Hewitt's comrades in low-information anarchism as "R.I.N.O. in chief", an "Obama flunkie", a "traitor or fool". Worst of all, he's called them names too: on the subject of BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI! he says they're "cartoonish". Which is such a well-chosen word I'm surprised Hugh's not on the anti-Gates train screaming Gatesgate! or something of the kind.
Conservative humor. Funnier now than when it was published on March 12 2012.
*And Gates was not "former Secretary of Defense under both Presidents..."; he's former Secretary of Defense now.
**Yoho is of course the congressman (Birther-FL) who has decried the 10% tax on tanning beds as racist and suggested that defaulting on the national debt would improve our country's credit rating:
I think the creditors that we owe money to around the world would say, "you know what, they're getting their house in order." And I think our credit rating would do better, if we did that than face the mass [sic] program we've been up to ... There are several of us that we're not raising the debt ceiling; don't ask us.
Actually I believe that happened in the Florida real estate market. How we got the mortgage crisis. What Yoho really wants, of course, is classic Florida: a Yoho ho and a bottle of rum.

Monday, October 7, 2013

News aggravators: Postscript

After signing off on the great Shutdown Martyrdom and Mass-Acre Event, I was too annoyed to stop and clocked in at NRO to complain some more, leading to the following sort of amusing exchange:

And another reminder that there are real Catholics you wouldn't mind knowing; here, the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of Dayton, Ohio, celebrating their 175th anniversary mass and picnic in 2009 and having a lot more fun than those wingnuts at Quantico.