Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cheap shots and balls in the air

The Amiga Juggler, via Jason Scott.
Maureen Dowd on Condoleezza Rice (whom she naturally calls "Condi"):
But, as Russell Baker once noted, she was trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube, spinning her wheels in the second term trying to undo the disasters of the first.
She has nothing particularly surprising or even wrong to say on the subject; what really interested me is that she managed to find Russell Baker, of all people, using two desperate clichés in one brief sentence, as remarkable a feat in its way as finding rhinestones in a pearl oyster.

Actually (thanks as ever, Dr. Google!), what Baker said in his great 2008 New York Review article is so refreshing as a kind of palate cleanser after a few Dowd paragraphs that it's worth quoting at length:
Failure often seemed to be the high road to success in the Bush administration, but no one has failed so gloriously upward as Condoleezza Rice, whose prize was the State Department. Bush made her secretary of state at the start of his second term, and though it is much too soon to judge whether she can end her Washington career with a success, the outlook cannot be encouraging.
Glenn Kessler’s up-close reporting of her incomplete career at State finds no important change from the woman who declined to try to take a vigorous intellectual lead in Bush’s first term. His book title, The Confidante, contains his judgment. It is not so different from “pal.”
As President Bush’s confidante for more than seven years, Rice has failed to provide him with a coherent foreign policy vision,” he writes. It seems that the President is now the one who generates ideas. A great deal of the diplomatic activity in the second term has been aimed at undoing the disasters of the first term. In the favorite old Washington metaphor, Rice is trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
Note how he tosses the clichés in the air like a juggler at the dazzling beginning of that passage, and hangs a sign around the one that Dowd liked at the end. That's writing.
Photo by Che Graham via the UCSD Math Department.

Will legal pot lead to a crime wave? Not just yet, according to Matt Ferner at HuffPost:
Overall violent crime in Denver for the four-month period that includes January to April fell 5.6 percent from the same period a year earlier. Crime is down in the four main categories of violent crime -- homicide, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crime dropped 11.4 percent from the first four months of 2013.
I know correlation is not causality, but.
Ellen Page, via.
Scott Johnson at Powerline thinks he's found the definitive hahaha-suckers rejoinder to Majority Leader Reid's proposal to amend the Constitution to overrule Buckley v. Valeo and desemioticize money:
The proposed amendment would catch up the likes of George Soros or Tom Steyer and other Democratic moneybags, though you’d never know it from Greg Sargent’s excited account at the Washington Post.
Well, of course it would! And guess what, that's OK. You see, Senator Reid isn't necessarily just thinking about his party's electoral prospects in some medium-term future. He could be—I'm not saying he is—thinking about principles, like the one that says it's not right to buy elections no matter what party you come from. Hard to believe, I know, if you've never met anybody like that. Which you may not have if you're in the stop-imaginary-voter-fraud party. Kudos to Greg Sargent for thinking about what matters.
Credited to Luke Burrage at Reddit.

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