Tuesday, September 30, 2014

White House Fool Report: Haunted, but maybe not *that* haunted

The village of Kafr Daryan, with a report in Indonesian accusing "Crusader invaders" of targeting civilians for death there. Arrahmah.com. Sorry, that's what they're calling it. I'm sure you'd rather they didn't. One weird trick for stopping people from talking like that would be not killing civilians.
Hey Mr. P

Sorry to hear about the armed maniacs in your house. I mean, I guess the Secret Service guys were supposed to be there, but the other one...


I'll get down to the point: Last May, you told us

Note on centrism

VACCINATION against SMALL POX.  Mercenary & Merciless spreaders of Death & Destruction driven out of Society.
Cherub: The Preserver of the Human Race
Man in red: Aye, Aye. I always order them to be constantly out in the air, in order to spread the contagion.
Knife labels: The curse of human kind. (Royal Society)
Eula Biss (author of On Immunity: An Inoculation) on NPR:
There's a great blog, Science-Based Medicine — and one of the writers on that blog pointed out that when you split the difference between information and misinformation, you still end up with misinformation. So I think there are situations where a middle ground is not desirable. Though I'm the kind of thinker who's very drawn to compromises and to nuances...
Cross-posted at Booman Tribune.

Monday, September 29, 2014


Thugs strangling a traveler, early 19th century. Via Wikipedia.
You might not think it, but I do get embarrassed sometimes at how little I have to say that's critical about President Obama. It's partly because I'm so continually appalled at the attacks on him and their overtly racist character; as Melissa Harris-Perry was suggesting a few weeks ago, his presidency is in a lot of ways more important than he is himself. And then I'm not seeing a lot of practicable alternatives to his management, in the current situation in the United States, with a paralyzed legislature and a poisoned Supreme Court and a rotten and poorly informed political press and a rogue intelligence community that, I'm convinced, defies him; Obama is so much the least objectionable part of our establishment, and we ought to be trying to strengthen his hand against the rest of it.

Intellectually, though, he can be pretty ordinary or unimaginative (who can't?), and this bit of analysis from Professor Cole on the situation in Iraq and Syria struck me as kind of important:

Blood moon rising

Blood Moon. By Ironshod at DeviantArt.
Is there an editor in the house? I mean the house on 42nd Street, where Jonathan Weisman writes:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

White House Fool Report: Less shocking and awful?

Resistance fighter Idris Kobane, from the Kurdish village of Kobane just inside the Syrian border. Photo by Robert Tait/The Telegraph.
Guardian, last Tuesday:
The first strikes landed just after 2am, directed at sites that Islamic State (Isis) has openly used and that had long been flagged as targets. The jihadis were no longer there though, having blended in with Raqqa’s civilian population, where they knew they would be safer.
I noticed some folks—well, Dr. Turk, of whom I'm a long-time fan—making fun of the allies for blowing up buildings and letting the enemy get away, but it occurred to me that could work as a good, if unconventional idea: Don't kill people (who include civilians), kill infrastructure. Not the way they did it in old Mr. Rumsfeld's day, of course, but....

Tee hee!

Phyllis Schlafly as conceptualized by Michèle Bachmann (Image by Nuddie Naked Lady Golf Tees).
Michèle Bachmann (Mad-Eyed Lady of the Lakelands), Via Silly Rabbit at Kos:
"I believe that Phyllis Schlafly is the most consequential female woman in public policy in the last fifty years of the 20th Century," Bachmann declared. "Had there not been a Phyllis Schlafly, I believe that we wouldn't have seen a rise of the pro-family movement. Had there not been a rise of the pro-family movement, I don't believe that there would have been a Ronald Reagan. Without a President Ronald Reagan, I don't think we would have seen the ability to defeat the evil, and yes that's what it was, Soviet empire and to bring a conclusion to the Cold War. Just as Ronald Reagan was consequential, Phyllis Schlafly was extremely consequential because she was a tee to tee up this president that we had."
Of course that's not to say that as a female woman Schlafly was necessarily as consequential as some of the male women.


Heritage Senior Research Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs Brett D. Schaefer at the Daily Signal is shocked to realize how twisted the president's priorities are:
At the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday, President Barack Obama offered a stunning–in fact, deeply disturbing–insight into his views on threats to the United States and the American people.

Allegory, of something

Every summer artists from the Art Students League install seven sculptures in Riverside Park South, in what is billed as the M2M (Model to Monument) program. This year they were very interactive, including the only one I really liked, a piece of comical social realism by Lindsay McCosh, Harbor for Industry, of two figures across a path from each other, one at work with a shovel and the other watching from a park bench, so people took pictures of themselves sitting next to it. I don't know why it was wrapped in police tape the other day, but it was.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

How Brooks works

Jackie Coogan in Skippy (1931).

Schematic David Brooks, "The Good Order: Routine, Creativity, and President Obama's U.N. Speech", New York Times, September 26 2014:

1. Steal some anecdotes about the writing routines of Maya Angelou, John Cheever, and Anthony Trollope.

2. Acknowledge your source in such a way as to make it seem not like a source, merely an aide-mémoire, and the author you're stealing from merely a "compiler":
I was reminded of these routines by a book called “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work,” compiled by Mason Currey.
3. Steal some quotations from Sigmund Freud, Henry Miller, and W.H. Auden, ideally from the same book. That's called productivity.

4. Segue to Obama:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cognitive dissonance

According to today's editorial in the Times,
By any measure, the nearly-six-year tenure of Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has been one of the most consequential in United States history.... It is hard to imagine that anyone who could make it through the current Senate would have an impact comparable to Mr. Holder’s.

As the first African-American to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official, Mr. Holder broke ground the moment he took office. In a position that rarely rewards boldness — and in the face of a frequently hostile Congress — Mr. Holder has continued to stake out strong and laudable legal positions on many of the most contested issues of our time.
But on the other hand

Panther Justice

Baby panther, via.
Did anybody call Andrea Tantaros out to clarify what she meant?
"He didn't enforce the laws on Obamacare," Tantaros said. "He was droning terrorists without a trial while he was giving them trials in downtown Manhattan. He ran the DOJ much like the Black Panthers would. That is a fact."
It is? I mean, how would the Black Panthers run the Justice Department?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Legalism Watch: Syria

Paolo Uccello, Battaglia di San Romano (ca. 1435-60)
When they tell you that the air campaign against Daesh forces in Syria (yes, I got tired of calling it the "Caliphate") is illegal, we need to keep in mind that that doesn't mean it's illegal like the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as a serious breach of the United Nations Charter; what they're talking about is in the first instance this:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How conservatives think

Celine painted-toe heels, spring 2013. Via.
Something funny from the short-paragraph factory at Heritage Foundation's Daily Dogwhistle, sorry, make that Daily Signal, their would-be counterpart to Think Progress:
War on women. Minimum wage. Climate change.
You hear liberals talking about these same topics all the time. Why?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autumn in New York

Autumn in New York. It's often mingled with pain. Photo by AP via Huffington Post.
Shorter David Brooks, "Snap Out of It", New York Times, September 23, 2014:
I don't know why everybody's so upset. There's nothing wrong with our government that couldn't easily be solved by eliminating partisanship and getting legislators to dock their own pay if they don't get their work done. Meanwhile it's autumn in New York! And the city's the most walkable it's been in years, in the parts I go to!
I love walking in New York too, I'm not going to lie. Still, it's a little bit fatuous to be so pleased to be a wealthy person (just sold the Cleveland Park place for about $4.5 million, we hear) in the most unequal city in the United States.

Driftglass keeps calling Brooks a Whig, but he's always been a Tory, longing for an imaginary time when America was governed by the well-reared, well-behaved younger sons of a squirearchy:

Monday, September 22, 2014


Via SevenDaysVermont.
Had to share this—it seems that in 1987 the mayor of Burlington, VT, a guy from New York City named Bernard Sanders,  you may have heard of him more recently, recorded a folk-rock album, with the assistance of a local record producer named Todd R. Lockwood. It's a kind of hootenanny performance by a large number of Burlington musicians with Bernie, who neither sings nor plays, just being Bernie, declaiming words of great wisdom and beauty through the instrumental breaks.

Five songs ranging from "Oh, Freedom" to a socialist rarity from Pete Seeger's repertoire, "The Banks Are Made of Marble". Jon Pareles of the New York Times has posted a review at their First Draft site (from which I have appropriated any actual information presented here), and for those who just want to listen to this thing, and I swear you'll be very glad you did, it's at Lockwood's own SoundCloud site.

Cross-posted at Booman Tribune.

Divide and what?

Updated 9/29/2014

Saturday's freeing of the 49 Turkish hostages held by ISIS may have been by a military rescue operation according to the Turkish government, or maybe by the serene clemency of his caliphic majesty Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi according to the caliphic Twitter account, says a  remarkable piece by Metin Turcan in Al-Monitor that gives me what feels like a better sense of what's going on politically inside ISIS-occupied Mosul:
Two major factors may have been at play. The first was the changing balance of power in Mosul: According to Turkish intelligence sources, US airstrikes seriously degraded IS communications between key centers in Mosul, Fallujah, Raqqa and Tikrit it controls. IS withdrew most of its Mosul forces to inland areas. US airstrikes were instrumental in changing the power structure of Mosul by strengthening the role of the Army of Naqshbandi and the Council of Mosul Tribes. Both favored the release of the hostages. The second major factor was the severe reaction from the Sunni world after IS released visuals of the beheadings it carried out of three Westerners. As such, IS' release of the Turkish hostages signifies a change in IS strategy and signifies a move to win over Sunni public opinion.
The takeaways are:

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Greeting the UN Climate Summit

I was stuck with some family business (happy stuff: a nephew getting married and a lively time was had by all including your correspondent here, who left the computer at home and found no time to blog by phone) and unable to march today with the 310,000 and more who showed up for the People's Climate March to Change Everything, where a large part of my heart was.

AP photo via Huffington Post.
I hope everything really does start to change from here, as this is the year US carbon emissions started speeding up again (rising 2.9%) after four years of reductions, and that mean atmospheric concentration of CO2 continues to soar beyond the sustainable level of 350 ppm to monthly means of 397 and higher.

And thanks to New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio for welcoming the climate summit not only with zero arrests of marchers (compared to over 2000 in Copenhagen 2009) but also with a solid program for greening the city.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Startling but true

David Brooks apparently no longer has any editor at all. He must have taken to writing his own headlines, anyway, because no professional could have composed this one:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

England hath need of ye

Updated 9/19
Eilean Dornan Castle, Skye. Via.
Dear Scotland,

You know what? England sucks. England doesn't deserve you. England has disrespected you, insulted you, discriminated against you for centuries. It's pretty awful.

And I understand the reasons for voting yes. Because the worst people in the world are urging you to vote no, as Edroso says. Because you can punish those people—Cameron and Osborne

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sincerest form of flattery, even if it's unconscious

Is Thomas P. Friedman, better known as Thomas L. Friedman, the Mystax Tranquillitatis, channeling me from ten days ago?

And if so, should I be pleased, or profoundly embarrassed?

Eboling alone

Himmelskibet (The Sky Ship), known in English as A trip to Mars, by Holger Madsen, Denmark, 1918. Image from Bullfax.
So last week the House Appropriations Committee deals with a request from the White House for $88 million to help the government cope with the sudden escalation of the Ebola virus in West Africa. So what is the inevitable response of chairman Hal Rogers? To offer $40 million instead.

David Brooks doesn't mention this in his critique of the US approach to Ebola. He may not have noticed it because he was too busy reading Adam Garfinkle's article in The National Interest, which tells us how former senator Dr. Bill Frist had the Ebola problem licked before it was even discovered by proposing a Medical Expeditionary Force, which is a bit like Médecins Sans Frontières but with fewer doctors and without all those spooky accents and foreigners, and will cost more than $88 million, annually, if anybody ever puts it together.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Legalism: No foul, no harm

Spoiler alert: I'm going to be working my way down to Obama here, but it's going to take a while...

Antonin Scalia. "The law is the true embodiment/Of everything that's excellent./It has no kind of fault or flaw,/and I, my lords, embody the law."
As everybody knows, in August 2009, when the Supreme Court ordered a Georgia judge to examine evidence that Troy Davis, convicted of murdering an off-duty police officer in 1989, was innocent, Justice Antonin Scalia dissented on memorable grounds:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Rejoinders: Postscript

Orphan's Picnic, 1935. Via Mothgirlwings.
Saturday, I invited readers to fuck David Brooks, by which I meant of course that they should ignore him (or at least use protection!), but that was before I took a hard look at the article by Peter Baker in Sunday's dead-tree Times (and its echo by Michael Calderone in the HuffPost), which puts Brooks's Friday column, along with Friedman on Sunday, in a somewhat different light, since it turns out that Brooks and Friedman both attended an off-the-record chat with President Obama in which the president spoke to journalists about his plans to degrade-and-destroy the Islamic State-in-Waiting.

That suggests that what our two heroes are urging on Obama—Friedman, to follow his instinct for caution; Brooks, to abandon his instinct for "reluctance" in favor of passionate, Leaderly wrongness—is based on a real interaction allowing them to judge what his instincts are. I mean, that he's told them he's reluctant, right there in the White House, and they've believed him. So far, so good.

Baker himself confirms this from his own reporting (which did not include talking to anybody from the Times, of course, who would never reveal to a living soul anything that they had ever heard from anyone off the record, especially if the living soul was another Times employee, because ever since old Bush went to grass they've been following the rule book pretty strenuously):

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In re Bobbleheads

It'd kill you to put her on once? Photo by John Shinkle/Politico.
“I think that for a 78-year-old senator, he . . . remains a strong and important voice in American politics and a relevant voice in American politics,” says Feist, whose “unscientific” analysis is that McCain hasn’t been appearing on CNN more recently than he has over the past couple of decades (fact-checkable!). (Via Erik Wempel at WaPo
That's it! It's the qualifier, "for a 78-year-old senator". There's some kind of weird obligation to feature a senator who was born in 1936, and McCain is the most strong, important, and relevant one who makes the cut?

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Updated 9/17/2014:
Aleppo, late August. Photo by AFP/AMC/Zein Rifai via the Daily Star.

Apparently the "Syrian moderates" have decided they'd rather not have any US weapons after all:
Syrian rebels and jihadists from the Islamic State have agreed a non-aggression pact for the first time in a suburb of the capital Damascus, a monitoring group said on Friday.

Obamacare Tragedy Watch: Arizona Byways

Update 10/7:

Welcome Arizonans! I'm not sure what's driving you all here on this of all particular days but I'm glad to have you. Fans of Arizona conservatives might like to check out my series on the soon-to-retire Tom Horne, who has given me endless delight.
There's something terribly wrong with the editing of this video from GOP TV Clips, especially in its later parts when humble Joe Higgins the suffering family man, whose insurance premiums have doubled thanks to Obamacare, is off screen. But I'm not technically prepared to say what it is. What I am prepared to say...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cheap shots and wonk Chucks

Carlson in Snuggie. Image by Politico.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson suggested over the weekend that laws regulating military-style semiautomatic rifles did not make sense ..."We should be clear for our viewers, assault weapon is a made up term," Carlson replied. "And there really is no such thing as an assault weapon." (Crooks & Liars)
The thing is, as a number of people were quick to point out, all terms are made-up terms. The question is whether it finds something coherent to apply itself to. For example, as the ngram below shows, "assault weapon" has been pretty successful since it was introduced in 1917, while "sniveling weasel", first showing up in 1989, has been somewhat iffy:

I'd love to help out, but I've been kind of busy.

Well played, that monarch:
In Jordan, the state news agency reported that in a meeting about the extremists on Wednesday, King Abdullah II had told Secretary of State John Kerry “that the Palestinian cause remains the core of the conflict in the region” and that Jordan was focusing on the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
It's true, you know. I guess back in July, when Gaza was under attack,  nobody could have imagined the United States would want to gather a coalition of Sunni powers to attack the Sunni Caliphate that had improbably declared itself on June 29.  But it could have been predicted that they might want to do it for some purpose or other.

As long as the US remains the chief patron and enabler of Israel's violent rule over the Palestinian territories, it's going to be hard for the other countries in the region to take our country seriously as the world's purveyor of peace and freedom.
Looking for survivors and bodies at the Qassam Mosque. Photo by Paolo Pellegrin/Magna, for the New York Times.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A sharper reader?

"Chicka chicka boom boom, will there be enough room?" Not included as snark, this is a really great book. And a sharp reader has broad tastes. Photo by Getty Images.
Professor Cole asks a question you might not have seen coming:
What if Obama is a sharper reader of the Middle East than his critics give him credit for? He knows ISIL is likely not going away, just as, after 13 years, the Taliban have not. US military action may even prolong the lifetime of these groups (that is one argument about AQAP) even as it keeps them from taking more territory.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I'm typing, watching TV, and listening to an entirely extraneous conversation at the same time. If the following sounds paranoid, that may be because you're assuming wrongly that it's coherent. Or it may actually be paranoid.

1. I wonder what's the role of Iran, and I wonder what's the role of the CIA? The latter don't count as "boots on the ground", right? (They wear these little ninja slippers.)

Speechwriter: Gosh, that's a great line, Mr. President!
Obama: Sure, kid. But will it pass the Chuck Todd Test?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Liberty, Fraternity, and Sorority

Harold Lloyd, The Freshman (1925).
Shorter David Brooks, "Becoming a real person", New York Times, September 9 2014:
According to William Deresiewicz, our elite colleges no longer help their elite students develop their souls and become elite real persons like me. Instead they're turning them into elite sheep. Just like ordinary people, only with bigger apartments and nicer cars. It's like a tragedy.

Monday, September 8, 2014

New York note

Sledding on cardboard in Upper West Trumplandia, on the hill between chain-link fences that separates Riverside Park South from the world's saddest-looking unaffordable housing project.
Tomorrow is Primary Tuesday in New York. Tonight is the Mid-Autumn Festival in the ancient Chinese calendar, and we celebrate, so I just want to pause to remind New York Democrats to vote tomorrow, preferably to vote for Zephyr Teachout and Timothy Wu for governor and lieutenant governor respectively.

Endorsing Wu in his primary against Kathy Hochul, the Times remarked that his inexperience wasn't as important as Teachout's because the lieutenant governor doesn't actually have to do anything, which I thought was poorly thought out: the lieutenant governor's only constitutional function is to become governor should anything god forbid happen to the governor, like if Andrew Cuomo comes under indictment, so hmm. So you should just make up your mind that experience isn't everything.

There's also a lot of rather exciting action in the state Senate primaries, where those traitor Democrats who went into coalition with Republicans two years ago to give the GOP a majority (with Cuomo's evident blessing) may be facing serious opposition. In some of the Bronx, voters from the Democratic wing of the Democratic party can vote for Oliver Koppell against Jeff Klein, and in parts of Queens, for my favorite candidate in last year's mayoral election, John Liu, against Tony Avella.

I will probably vote for a bit of an insurgency here in Manhattan against incumbent Adriano Espaillat, who seems to think of the Senate as a sort of rest and recreation venue between bouts of trying and failing to push Charlie Rangel out of Congress (Espaillat's attendance record was the second worst in the state Senate in 2012, first worst in 2013-2014), in favor of the good old leftist councilman Robert Jackson, though everybody from Congressman Jerry Nadler to Mayor de Blasio is asking me not to. Before I absolutely make up my mind I'll watch last week's debate.

Anyway, later.


Pablo Picasso, Still Life with Skull, Leeks, and Pitcher. Via The Guardian.
This is a belated response to commenter dgchicago at Steve's place, who very properly called me out on a post last weekend where I may have let my "Obama is a liberal" fantasy get away with me a little bit on the subjects of Lawrence Summers, Grand Bargains, and Syria.
What is your evidence that Obama never wanted to bomb Syria? Just as with the Grand Bargain and with Summers as Fed Chair, the timeline suggests to me that he was heading in the wrong direction until outside forces prevented it (Republican intransigence in the case of the Bargain, public opinion in the cases of Syria and Summers). You didn't provide any solid evidence to support your claims, not even in the links to past posts. You seem to start from the conclusion that what Obama did is Right and Good, then work backward from there.
Part of it was unclear writing; I didn't mean to suggest that Obama "didn't want" to nominate Summers to the Federal Reserve chair (as should have been clear from my original post)—I just didn't buy the narrative that he cared so much about it that nominating Janet Yellen instead would have been a personal defeat for him.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

ISIS: Take a deep breath

House of Wisdom in Baghdad, the world's first university, founded by Caliph Harun al-Rashid toward the end of the 8th century. Can't find a credit or even a date (13th century?) for this beautiful piece.
What I think were the most important ISIS stories of the past week were not the terrifying or exciting ones, and they have not been getting the press attention they deserve. Both were at Juan Cole's place, and both examined points of view with which we are not so familiar in America, from the higher realms of the Iranian political establishment, and from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

The first, on Friday, was Professor Cole's piecing together of evidence that Iran and the US are now allies in the battle against the self-described Caliphate—I mean, not just having a common enemy but actively working together; the US providing "extremely close" air support to the Iran-backed Shi'ite militias in Amerli, the US and Iranian air forces apparently informing each other of their strike plans so they don't accidentally bomb each other, and Ayatollah Khamenei having officially put his imprimatur on US-Iran military cooperation (Slate has picked up on this too), among other things.

Worth nothing

Christopher Cillizza, via GQ.
Chris Cillizza literally phoning it in:

You can tell by the extraneous h in the parenthesis in line 4, which must have been produced by an Autocorrect gremlin making fun of Chris's portentous style.

I'm wondering how much President Obama has really thought at all about the political consequences of delaying his immigration action until after the election—beyond simply believing whatever Mark Pryor tells him.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Annals of derp: Kissinger arithmetic

The old vampire Professor Kissinger was on the NPR this morning sharing his fascinating views. He seems to be a little challenged with respect to the arithmetic thing.
Dr. Henry Kissinger:
I think we would find, if you study the conduct of [the military], that the Obama administration has hit more targets on a broader scale than the Nixon administration ever did. And, of course, B-52s have a different bombing pattern.

On the other hand, drones are far more deadly because they are much more accurate. And I think the principle is essentially the same. You attack locations where you believe people operate who are killing you. You do it in the most limited way possible. And I bet if one did an honest account, there were fewer civilian casualties in Cambodia than there have been from American drone attacks.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Doin' the chronic disconnect

Chaplin moonwalk. From Modern Times (1936), via rebloggy.

Is there an editor in the house?

David Sanger on the imperatives of legacy rethinking:
“There is a chronic disconnect, not just in this administration, between the policy, the budget guidance, and the classified strategies,” said Shawn Brimley, the director of studies at the Center for a New American Security, who served as the director of strategic planning at the National Security Council during Mr. Obama’s first term. That is what Mr. Obama needs to do for a “lasting legacy” of rethinking America’s defenses, Mr. Brimley said, but “if you don’t do it in the next six months, it’s too late.”

Body and Soul

Orlacs Hände. Konrad Veidt, 1924.
Shorter David Brooks, "The Body and the Spirit", New York Times, September 5 2014:
What is it that revolts us so much in the spectacle of religious zealots cutting off the heads of innocent journalists? Gosh, I don't know, but I'm guessing it must have something to do with theology, on which we and the terrorists disagree.
Why is it that I'm so revolted by the incongruity with which our reigning public intellectual leaps on this horrible story as an excuse for a dispassionate excursion into (less than second-rate) cultural analysis? Can't I just leave him alone?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

New York notes: Performativity

"Mr. Mayor, you may now kiss the candidate." Photo by Chang W. Lee, New York Times.
Woke up this morning to the alarming sound of Mayor Bill De Blasio endorsing the unspeakable immigrant-hating Kathy Hochul in New York's lieutenant governor primary over her rival candidate Tim Wu, who unlike Hochul is known to believe many of the same things as the mayor:
on Wednesday she received her biggest and most unlikely endorsement yet: from Mayor Bill de Blasio, the liberal leader of New York City, who pronounced her “a true progressive.”

“I’m proud to support Kathy,” Mr. de Blasio said, as Ms. Hochul stood by his side.
I was really taken aback for a moment, and then I realized, "Oh! He's only lying," and went back to sleep, completely reassured.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Crises of context

Phyllis Haver as Roxie in the first film version of Chicago, by Cecil B. DeMille (1927).
David Brooks is jiving:
As Henry Kissinger said, once you get in government you are not building up human capital; you are just spending it down.
Sort of like the salmon that spends its life in the ocean getting fat enough to make that trip up the river to spawn. It's funny to think of old Professor Kissinger doing that, acquiring a lifetime's worth of (evil) character and skill (per Wikipedia, human capital is "the stock of competencies, knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, cognitive abilities, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value") so he could piss it all away in his eight years in the corridors of power. Only instead of fertilizing a new generation he created the Rolodex that would sustain him in pointless fatuity for decades to come.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

Jared Bernstein goes big:
But I think what’s missing from our national debate over labor and the condition of working families — those who depend on paychecks, not stock portfolios — is something more fundamental: courage.