Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Trump EPA Unveils New Plans to Kill 1,400 People/Year

To own the libs, presumably. Via Lisa Friedman/NYT:
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Tuesday made public the details of its new pollution rules governing coal-burning power plants, and the fine print includes an acknowledgment that the plan would increase carbon emissions and lead to up to 1,400 premature deaths annually.
The proposal, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, is a replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which was an aggressive effort to speed up the closures of coal-burning plants, one of the main producers of greenhouse gases, by setting national targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions and encouraging utilities to use cleaner energy sources like wind and solar.
The new proposal, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, instead seeks to make minor on-site efficiency improvements at individual plants and would also let states relax pollution rules for power plants that need upgrades, keeping them active longer.
Fire tornado, east of Santa Maria, CA, July 2017, photo by Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department/AP via Newser. Didn't know those existed, but it seems pretty clear there are more of them than there used to be.
Of course the Trump administration acknowledges that implementing the Green Power Plan would actually avoid killing 1,500 to 3,600 people yearly by 2030 (by reducing the PM 2.5 particulates in the atmosphere), but they explain that would be illegal (it would "force electric utilities to use greener energy sources", and they claim in what sounds like a very Scott Pruitt argument that it's against the law to do something like that—surely it's worth 1,400 lives a year, and maybe 48,000 new cases of asthma every year too, don't let's forget that, to preserve the sacred American liberties of our power companies).


English witches making a spell, engraving, 1489, Bridgeman Library. Via AllPosters.

A comment from Geo X over at Alicublog gave me a lot of food for thought, and I thought I'd leave it here, for the record—
Okay. So the idea is that news organizations are going to have jurors whacked if they don't find against Manafort, and the evidence for this is miscellaneous incidents of people being mean to right-wingers. So...this is an insane thing to believe, right? I don't mean "insane" as a general term of abuse, but rather "insane" as in "you are having paranoid delusions and should seek immediate mental help." Does it seem particularly plausible that a bulk of wingnuts should be suffering so? Well, I can certainly believe that some of them have literally driven themselves insane with rage, but I have to wonder: what percentage of them actually believe this, and what percent just claim to because it is mandated that one must always believe the worst possible things about people who are not part of The Tribe--the same phenomenon that leads worryingly large numbers of republicans answering in the affirmative to polls asking "is Obama literally the antichrist?" Maybe it's a distinction without a difference, but either way, it's pretty fucking alarming.
—with my response:
I think one answer is they don't so much think it as chant it. They don't imagine the consequences of how things would be if it were true, or act as if they lived in a world where newspapers and TV stations have their own staffs of hit men (or former secretaries of state would be involved in pimping child prostitutes from a pizza parlor, or whatever). They live as if the world is more or less as it actually is. They just talk about this bizarre shit and email the stories to one another.
It's like the Azande people of Sudan studied by E.E. Evans-Pritchard, who believed any harm that comes to a person is the result of witchcraft practiced by malevolent neighbors. If you really "thought" that, you'd live in constant terror and passivity, in the belief there was nothing you could do to better your life, but that's not what they did—they lived comfortably at two levels, a normal one where they took care of themselves and their families and got on fine with their neighbors, and a religious one where they protected themselves against witchcraft by performing the appropriate rituals.
It's a horrible feature of Western civilizations that we feel this pressure to have every article in a religion be literally physically true (and therefore obviously wrong, to anybody who's thinking straight), and constantly fail to understand the difference between these two levels of our realities. Liberal theists, God love 'em, are pretty relaxed about it, but conservatives (for whom the ideology does have an absolutely religious character, in cult beliefs like "American exceptionalism" and the intrinsic wickedness of people of color and/or chronically poor people) are desperately messed up, and we all live with the terrible consequences of this.

Monday, August 20, 2018

For the Record: Lincoln and Kavanaugh

From (I believe) the 14th-century Libro del Buen Amor by Juan Ruiz, Arcipreste de Hita, via.

Here's some heavy-duty Dinesh, a response to his assertion that Lincoln called himself a conservative (not exactly untrue, but it meant somewhat the opposite of what Dinesh thought it might), and NSFW below the fold, some suggested questions for Senator Kamala Harris to ask Judge Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearings:

Literary Corner: Trump's Foxtrot

For all its heft and strangeness, the president's poetry has a few defects, of which the one that always bothers me is the lack of a proper pulse: there's rhythmic energy, but it's always getting blocked by a syllable that doesn't belong. If it were a car you'd bring it in to the mechanic, "What's that irregular clanking sound whenever I'm going over 30? Do I need to worry about that?" Something about this morning's Unhinged Tweets made me want to just chop them up and rearrange them a good deal more radically than I'd normally do, to make them sing instead of clanking, with some unexpected results: a lyric for a tune that might be in the same mood as Cole Porter's 1934 When They Begin the Beguine:

The Angry Democrat Thugs Fox Trot
by Donald J. Trump

where’s the Collusion, darling?
they made up a phony crime
they called it Collusion, and then it wasn't there
and when there was no Collusion
they made up a phony crime
they called it Obstruction and it never existed
they're enjoying ruining people's lives
they're refusing to look at corruption
the lies, the firings, the emails, and sooo much more!
Mueller's Angry Dems
are looking to impact the election
they are a national disgrace!

those Angry Democrat Thugs
they spent 30 hours with the Councel
only with my approval looking for trouble
if you FIGHT BACK, darling,
about that Rigged old Witch Hunt
or if you say anything bad they'll scream Obstruction!

they're enjoying ruining people's lives
they're refusing to look at corruption
the lies, the firings, the emails, and sooo much more!
Mueller's Angry Dems
are looking to impact the election
they are a national disgrace!

Literary Corner: Epic

Study the Late Joseph McCarthy
by Donald J. Trump

The Failing New York Times wrote
a story that made it seem
like the White House Councel had TURNED
on the President, when in fact
it is just the opposite - &
the two Fake reporters knew this.
This is why the Fake News Media
has become the Enemy of
the People. So bad for America!
Some members of the media are
very Angry at the Fake
Story in the New York Times.
They actually called to complain
and apologize - a big step forward.
From the day I announced, the Times has been
Fake News, and with their disgusting
new Board Member, it will only
get worse! Study the late
Joseph McCarthy, because we are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby! Rigged Witch Hunt!
Study for Mast (for Ingmar Bergman), 1988, by Robert Motherwell. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
The Failing New York Times wrote a story
That's Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, of course, "White House Counsel Has Cooperated Extensively With Mueller’s Obstruction Inquiry," bringing us word of the 30 hours of interviews Counsel Don F. McGahn has had with the investigation since last November or so, detailing particularly, Schmidt and Haberman believe, his observations on the president's obstuction of justice since the Inauguration:

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Annals of Derp: Our Terrifying Math

Golden Section gif by astrophysicsstudent.

If I owe you $10 and I mistakenly think it's $15 and write it down that way while my accountant has the right figure, that's going to be an unsubstantiated adjustment of $5 in the audit (in my favor: I'm in less debt than I thought I was). And if I don't pay you for 15 years, and keep getting it wrong, it's another $5 unsubstantiated adjustment every year. Then if somebody like Professor Kotlikoff comes around trying to figure out what I'm up to he's going to claim that I secretly spent $75, although in fact I merely saved $5 I thought I was going to have to spend.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Father John

Photo by Pete Souza via BuzzFeed, May 2009.

Trump's unexpectedly succeeded at something really difficult: making John O. Brennan a truth-telling hero, which is giving something like whiplash to some of our friends, notably Zandar, who remember Brennan from back in 2008 as the person Obama was talked out of naming as CIA director because he had a record from the Bush administration as being not as opposed to torture as a decent person should be, and then wonder why Obama named him chief counterterrorism adviser (a job that doesn't require Senate confirmation) and eventually CIA director anyway.

I, in my usual Obot way, kept thinking there must be some reason Obama likes this guy so much, partly because he looks like a kindly old Irish priest, and ended up concluding just about four years ago that Brennan had been given a really bad rap, that the evidence calling him a torture supporter has been read wrong, and that Obama saw him, rightly, as the right person to fix the troubled CIA:
Here were Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane a little before the inauguration:


Kind of confirms my point that you're too lazy to do even the most minimal research to check whether your hypothesis is valid or not.

Friday, August 17, 2018


Giovanni de Min. Spartan women wrestling, fresco, 1835-36. Villa Patt, Sedico, via .scclub.  

Victor Davis Hanson denounces the educated classes for the enjoyment and edificaton of the unlettered readership of the National Review:
rumpism is sometimes derided as an updated know-nothingism that rejects expertise and the input of credentialed expertise. Supposedly, professionals who could now save us tragically have their talent untapped as they sit idle at the Council on Foreign Relations, the economics Department at Harvard, or in the offices of the Brookings Institution — even as Trump’s wheelers and dealers crash and burn, too proud, too smelly, or too ignorant to call in their betters to come in and save Trump from himself.
But do the degreed classes, at least outside math, the sciences, engineering, and medicine, merit such esteem anymore?
You can tell by his plain, colloquial language that he's a hardscrabble man of the people himself, at ease with chainsaws.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


I just thought I'd post this, my own best Aretha moment of recent years, at the 2015 Kennedy Center honors, when she was introduced by some chick pretending to be Carole King, and the real Carole King, who was getting one of the awards, was in the audience and going nuts at the way this great artist was taking her own work and transmuting it—if you were listening, you were listening through King's ears and King's gratitude, which we should all share, because we're very fortunate to have had her among us all these years.

(And here's what Fox did, if you haven't heard about it.) Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Litter-ary Corner

Song of Illegal Immigration
by Tucker Carlson

I actually hate
litter which is one of
the reasons I'm so against
illegal immigration.
It produces a huge amount
of litter. Huge amount
of litter and I mean that
with total sincerity.

Text from Andrew Lawrence via Steve.

Hyperreality TV

Undertale: Jungle Cruisin' by Joyous Lemons/DeviantArt.

Hi, it's Stupid to say I'm going to be disappointed if Omarosa ends up being what drags Trump down in the end.

I mean, it's true that the writers who thought up this plot twist are trivializing the issues we're watching the show for, the apparent collapse of the Constitution in the face of flagrant illegality in the White House, the pervasive corruption throughout the executive, the treacherous dealing with foreign governments, in favor of what? The backstabbing intriguer motif, the person everybody always votes off the island, who might get brought back on to revive interest as an underwritten storyline starts to sputter and flag, but in this case the storyline wasn't flagging at all, if anything there was far too much going on already without her. Isn't there too much Sopranos-style personal stuff as it is, with the mental illness theme, and the endangered marital and family relationships, and Trump's fraught backstory with his retainers like Cohen and Manafort and Lewandowski and Scavino and the rest, and the bizarre intimacy and crudeness of his connections with his fellow sovereigns Trudeau and Merkel and Macron and Putin and Abe and Kim and Xi and Erdoğan and MBS and Sheikh Tamim, as detached from all the millions of people it affects as if it were taking place in a treehouse?