Friday, October 31, 2014

The tightening face

As seen by the Russian media: Дженнифер Рубин.
Great news from Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post: She thinks hack Ed Gillespie is likely to pull an upset over Mark Warner in the Virginia Senate race (echoing yesterday's "exclusive report" by Alex Pappas at the Daily Squalor and this morning's breakfast for Dr. William Kristol, the only pandit in history of a wrongness so pervasive as to get him sacked from the New York Times, a feat not even David Brooks has been able to accomplish). So I think we can take it as a given that Warner is safe.
Two late polls showing the gap in what was nearly a 30-point race shrinking to single digits has lifted Republicans’ spirits in Virginia.
Has they indeed, then?

I for one welcome our new DJ overlords

Niv Bavarsky, Zombie DJ.
David Brooks is taking Halloween off, and turned his space over to one of those Google experiments analogous to the self-driving car, for an entirely automated piece composed by his Gmail account.
Verbatim David Brooks, "Our Machine Masters", October 31 2014:
Some days I think nobody knows me as well as Pandora. I create a new music channel around some band or song and Pandora feeds me a series of songs I like just as well. In fact, it often feeds me songs I’d already downloaded onto my phone from iTunes. Either my musical taste is extremely conventional or Pandora is really good at knowing what I like.
I'd say the two options kind of feed off of each other. Also, I'd kill myself if I felt that way.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The War of the Chickenshit

Image via Canadian Thinker.
Danielle Pletka for the American Enterprise Institute:
Let’s get this straight: Bibi et al, who have what most would agree is a legitimate and existential fear of an Iranian nuclear weapon, are “good” because they’re, er “chickenshit” about launching a strike on Iran; oh, and Bibi is also labeled a “coward” for having been “chickenshit” in that regard. But he’s “bad” because he won’t cave to a Palestinian Authority and Hamas so riven by terrorism, corruption and incompetence that they won’t “accommodate” with each other.
No, I don't think you have it straight yet.

1. Jean-Paul Sartre wants his adjective back: what is Prime Minister Netanyahu doing with an "existential fear"?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Whatever else they take from me, they can't take away my dignity...

Just a little respect.
...because I sold, it, for a cool quarter of a million. From Heritage's "Daily Signal":


Why Did CNN Think Bristol Palin Recounting Being Called a ‘F***ing C***’ Was Funny?

Oh, Katrina, do you really want to know?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Partyism like it's 1999

Buster Keaton in, I think, Spite Marriage (1929).
Verbatim David Brooks, "Why Partyism is Wrong", New York Times, October 28 2014:
There are several reasons politics has become hyper-moralized in this way. First, straight moral discussion has atrophied. There used to be public theologians and philosophers who discussed moral issues directly. That kind of public intellectual is no longer prominent, so moral discussion is now done under the guise of policy disagreement, often by political talk-show hosts.

Second, highly educated people are more likely to define themselves by what they believe than by their family religion, ethnic identity or region.

Third, political campaigns and media provocateurs build loyalty by spreading the message that electoral disputes are not about whether the top tax rate will be 36 percent or 39 percent, but are about the existential fabric of life itself.
Like what kind of world is that where your religion has to take a back seat to the stuff you believe, for heaven's sake?

Monday, October 27, 2014

What part of "graven image" don't they understand?

There's some surprise running around over the case of Michael Reed, 29, of Oklahoma City, who urinated on the Ten Commandments monument outside the Federal Building (the replacement for the Murrah Building blown up by Christian Identity terrorist Timothy McVeigh) and then smashed it by running it over with his car, under instructions, he said, from Satan, who also advised him to spit on a photograph of President Obama and kill him. But he's a Christian.

According to KOCO TV (via SEK at Raw Story),

Sunday, October 26, 2014

And we win one!

Updated below:

Breaking from the New York Times:
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday night outlined New York State’s mandatory quarantine policy for health care workers returning from West African nations with Ebola outbreaks , bringing the state closer into line with federal protocols and marking a significant break with the way the policy has been carried out in New Jersey.
The announcement comes after the Obama administration pressed New York to rescind its order, issued only two days ago in a joint press conference with New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie. New Jersey officials, who stood by their decision on Sunday, have yet to explain many details of their quarantine policy. The state has come under scathing criticism for the treatment of a nurse returning from Sierra Leone, who was forced into quarantine in a hastily erected tent at a New Jersey hospital even though she had not displayed any signs of illness and tested negative for Ebola.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the treatment of the nurse, Kaci Hickox,had been shameful and vowed that New York City would do all it could to honor the work of the health care workers here and those who go to help fight the epidemic in West Africa.
Via Funny or Die.

I still won't vote for Cuomo. Don't care for the way he buckles under pressure, even when he's buckling in the right direction. Subject to hysteria, not a steady hand like Howie Hawkins. And speaking of buckling, thanks, thanks, thanks Mayor de Blasio and President Obama for your firmness in sticking by the rational approach in the face of media and political panic. You guys are great.


Annals of derp: Politico

Dozens of subtweeters falling over each other in their excitement over this evidence of how the nation has given up on our president. Though last I heard 61% somewhat or very confident make up a majority, even in the Senate. Not sure why Politico posted it, unless it's maybe meant as snark. But I fear Allen and Vandehei are not that good at math, to say nothing of Issa.

Ex Africa Semper

Image from Brotha Wolf.
Continuing the rant...

Just heard some audio of Cuomo saying, "I'm old enough to remember HIV—we didn't know how HIV was communicated," implying that we're in the same situation (somewhat imaginary, because it was almost from the beginning clear that gay men were not passing HIV to their many female and straight male friends and relatives and associates whereas among straight people afflicted by AIDS, especially in Africa, the transmission was strictly between male and female sex partners and their children) in regard to Ebola.

Oh, right, HIV comes from darkest Africa too, just like those killer bees.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pure Serene

One year at Greyfriars I played on the same eleven as Keats and Chapman, but I found them very standoffish and unfriendly, which made my shyness even worse. The headmaster thought I was being ridiculous; "It's not a cocktail party, for God's sake, it's cricket," he said. "What difference could it possibly make whether they talk to you or not?" But the thing was, they kept whispering, and I felt they were whispering about me.
Moreover, the captain insisted on playing me as wicket-keeper, a position for which, for technical reasons I need not go into, I was entirely unsuited. Keats finally noticed how upset I was and asked, rather kindly I thought, if there was anything he could do, but what could I say? I knew I'd never be any good at the game till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bowled.
From Tom Brown's School Days, 1877, via The Vatican of Sport.
Dedicated to Smut, without whom I might never have known of the genre, and the late Brian O'Nolan/Myles na Gopaleen.

Jack Bruce


At the Zeche Bochum in Bochum, January 1983, with David Sancious, guitar, and Bruce Gary, drums.

Fearless City: Postscript

Andy 'n' Chris: "Look how serious we are! Awesome!" But a little smile on Cuomo's lips as he contemplates the captive press, paying him attention but unable to ask him a single question about his role in Albany's corruption and secrecy. Photo by Katie Orlinsky/New York Times.
Not that fearless. I guess I spoke too soon.

Friday started off pretty well, with New York as a whole resolutely refusing to panic and Mayor de Blasio and city health commissioner Mary Bassett keeping things that way, as our own Ebola victim, Dr. Craig Spencer, remained in stable condition:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Annals of Derp: Bobo's (Political) Party

Louis Wolheim as Sgt. Bulba in Tempest (1928). 
David Brooks is in full campaign mode now, looking for quirky and intellectual-sounding reasons for voting Republican without saying so and supporting policies like means-testing Medicare, supplementing the wages of the working poor with taxpayer money so Walmart and McDonalds can continue to pay slave wages, and shifting immigration from preserving families to draining other countries' brains, because sisters and cousins and aunts are a dime a dozen but we can never have too many English-deficient computer coders and anesthesiologists. And the long-cherished circle-squaring fantasy of a "progressive consumption tax", though he doesn't really believe he'll ever catch that unicorn.

Today's column prompt is an extremely interesting essay by William Galston of the Brookings Institution, "The New Challenge to Market Democracies", which works from the blandest and broadest of analyses (his bothsiderism is international, pitting suprapartisan pictures of statist Europe/Japan and corporatist United States against each other) to rather radical Pikettist prescriptions: in order literally to save liberal democracy from authoritarianism, the US needs to start with

Fearless City

New York takes pride in acknowledging Dr. Craig Spencer, "gifted", "goofball", and specialist in international emergency medicine, generous volunteer, speaker of Chinese, French, and Spanish, and general person who knows what a New Yorker should do after a spell of taking care of Ebola patients in Guinea for Médecins Sans Frontières: go bowling in Brooklyn, have a nice dinner, do a three-mile run if you're feeling a little off your form, and take your temperature twice a day. And don't panic.

I hope very much for his happy recovery and have no worries whatsoever for the other eight million of us.
Dr. Spencer, via New York Times.
More, with a precious classic link, from Steve.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's not rocket science

Amalie Atkins, Girl in reeds with bolex, chromogenic print, 20 x 30”, 2010, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
So apparently there was a pretty promising-looking Ebola vaccine around for ten years, 100% effective in monkeys, but no money for testing it in humans:
“There’s never been a big market for Ebola vaccines,” said Thomas W. Geisbert, an Ebola expert here at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and one of the developers of the vaccine that worked so well in monkeys. “So big pharma, who are they going to sell it to?” Dr. Geisbert added: “It takes a crisis sometimes to get people talking. ‘Ok. We’ve got to do something here.' ”
If only there were some kind of super-organization that could dispose of the necessary billions for doing stuff like that without having to worry about profits and screaming shareholders!
The vaccine was actually produced, in Winnipeg by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The Canadian government patented it, and 800 to 1,000 vials of the vaccine were produced. In 2010, it licensed the vaccine, known as VSV-EBOV, to NewLink Genetics, in Ames, Iowa.
The Canadian government donated the existing vials to the World Health Organization, and safety tests of the vaccine in healthy volunteers have already begun.
Yeah, exactly! You could call it "Canada"!

Lede, buried: Thom Tillis

Gustave Boulanger, Le Marché aux Esclaves, ca. 1882.
North Carolina's GOP Senate candidate, Thom Tillis, showed up in the New York Times yesterday in a way that deserved a lot more attention than it seems likely to get, in a story about state regulation of personal installment loans, for emergency needs like car repairs or medical bills.

These are a kind of subprime loan offered by companies like the Citigroup unit OneMain Financial:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Image via Crime Scene Kansas City.

"Bristolnacht" is Tengrain's name for the Spilla in Wasilla, when the Clan of the Palins betook them in their limo to beat the shit out of everybody they saw and then retired in confusion on all sides, and I realized that's what it would be called if it was a German opera, which it really should be. And this is what it would look like, approximately:

Bless them all!

This is great, from Shane Harris at Foreign Policy: it seems that at the same time as General Keith Alexander was running the National Security Agency he was really busy speculating in commodities, potash and aluminum, with weird and unpredictable markets and connections to our favorite spying targets, China and the Russian Federation:

The Artside

Alice Goodman, in a Guardian interview of 2012:
"The guards at Auschwitz were able to do what they did because they had dehumanised the people who came through. It's that whole process of dehumanising that I hate. To have made Klinghoffer into the Klinghoffer the critics wanted would have been to play into that enterprise of dehumanising – dehumanising your enemy, dehumanising your friends as well."
I wasn't planning to see the new production of Alice Goodman's and John Adams's The Death of Klinghoffer at the Met, not for political reasons. I can't afford to see even a small fraction of everything I want, and I saw the opera at Brooklyn Academy of Music in the semi-staged production of 2003, and frankly I thought it was static and the music weak. Then came Monday's twitterstorm in advance of the production premiere and the demonstration outside the opera house, and opera fan Rodolfo Giuliani pitted against Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Bill de Blasio, and I said to myself, boy, whose side are you on? and ordered tickets. For Guy Fawkes Day, as it happens.

The right to aspire

"Make that respect for me, not for you." Via somebody's tumblr.

Just about everybody you might want to hear from is on this astonishingly offensive remark by the governor of New Jersey, but I'd like to help pile on:
"I gotta tell you the truth, I'm tired of hearing about the minimum wage, I really am," Christie said during an event at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington, according to a recording of his remarks by the liberal opposition research group American Bridge.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fear and Trembling and Republicans unto Death

Grzegorz Klaman, Fear and Trembling. Installation piece, Schmidt Center Gallery, Florida Atlantic University, April-May 2007.
David Brooks takes on the Quality of Fear:
There’s been a lot of tutting-tutting about the people who are overreacting to the Ebola virus. There was the lady who showed up at the airport in a homemade hazmat suit.

West of Eden: Syria update

Sheikh Rasho Rasho Hussein, keeper of the Yazidi temple in Khanka Kavin, Iraq. Photo by Julia Harte/National Geographic, July 2013.
The collusion of seemingly unrelated news items converging on the town of Ayn al-Arab/Kobanê is getting really interesting. It's not really part of the Rectification task to spend so much time covering these things, but I feel the press is not putting them together very well, so I hope readers don't mind. I'll get back to the literary criticism soon. (Tuesday is Brooksday!)

Airdrop supplies from the US included lethal weaponry for the first time, we heard first thing in the morning, with the weaponry being provided not by Americans but by Iraqi Kurds, and then over the BBC that the Turkish government has suddenly changed its mind about permitting volunteer Kurdish fighters to cross the Turkish border to Kobanê—only, officially, not Turkish Kurds, just those same Iraqi Kurd peshmerga, for whom a corridor will be opened along the border from Iraq.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A smylere with a knyf

The Temple of Mars Ultor, Rome, completed in 2 B.C.E., commemorating the Battle of Philippi. Ancient History Encyclopedia.

Lt. Col. Dr. John Nagl, Headmaster of the Haverford School, former president of the Center for a New American Security, worshiper at the Temple of Mars Armipotent, and all-round person who likes to find unusual ways of using the word "knife" in book titles—Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, 2002; Knife Fights, 2014—is on the book tour circuit mongering the latter, a Memoir of Modern War in Theory and Practice (you can catch him with his co-"author" on the army's revised counterinsurgency manual, Gen. Dr. David Petraeus, being interviewed by Max Boot, M.A., no military rank for some reason, at the 92nd Street Y for $45 if you don't mind one of the cheap seats, the night before Halloween).

Saturday, October 18, 2014

White House Fool Report: Ugh, lawyers

Barrel pillory, from Deadly Planet.
Hey Mr. President, you wouldn't be airing out the linens and dusting up the old black sites and revving up the racks and thumbscrews for a spin, by any chance? Because Charlie Savage is reporting in the Times that
President Obama’s legal team is debating whether to back away from his earlier view [on the United Nations Convention against Torture]. It is considering reaffirming the Bush administration’s position that the treaty imposes no legal obligation on the United States to bar cruelty outside its borders, according to officials who discussed the deliberations on the condition of anonymity.

West of Eden: Syria report

Kurdish wedding ceremony, Kobane, 1960s. Via ARA News.
Glad to be able to report that in his first press briefing since the war on the Caliphate began in June, commander Lloyd Austin stressed that US efforts to not kill civilians are not merely humanitarian, but part of the overall strategy:

Friday, October 17, 2014

American exceptionism

Harold Lloyd in Why Worry? (1923). Via Margaret Gunning.
David Brooks has decided he'd like to be an idealist in politics, but not a high idealist. He wants to be a low idealist, striving for low ideals:
I’m here to make the case for low idealism. The low idealist rejects the politics of innocence. The low idealist recoils from any movement that promises “new beginnings,” tries to offer transcendent “bliss to be alive” moments or tries to fill people’s spiritual voids.
What exactly are low ideals? Are they ideals without the incense and vestments, like low church? Or humble ideals, that keep their heads down in the presence of the squire? Or is low idealism a kind of idealism the way low speed is a kind of speed, a kind of build-up-your-self-esteem everybody-gets-a-trophy way of saying not very idealistic?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cheap shot

The president finally shows some mussel:

Foreign Policy's Situation Report.

I shell not be moved.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's Retroactionary Tuesday!

Updated 10/15/2014
Image by The Daily What, via Slashfilm.
Shorter David Brooks, "The Sorting Election", New York Times, 14 October 2014:
I mean which do you prefer, the Bay Area and the quaint old backward-looking, high-regulation, walkable-neighborhood broccoli information economy of the 1990s, or Houston and the hot new forward-driving, petroleum-stained, big-freedom raw-meat energy economy of the 1980s? The country's big enough for the both of them, right?
He's in his highest-gloss nonpartisan just-sayin' mode today, calling forth wonderful peals of invective from Driftglass, who can be driven very nearly insane by that "who, me, conservative? Why I'm just an innocent bystander" pose, and the faux-barbaric yawp coming from someone who until recently believed Applebee's had a salad bar:

Monday, October 13, 2014

How a bill becomes bull

Brother Huckabee explains it all (thanks, Tengrain):
we've got three branches of government
and each are equal to the other
the founders took extraordinary measures
to prevent too much power being grabbed by one person or group...

Annals of derp: Et tu, Shankar?

Image via New Schoolers.
I love the fact that NPR runs regular reports on social science research, and especially the Morning Edition appearances of Shankar Vedantam, a kind of indirect corrective to the vagaries of David Brooks, but today they ran a bit off the rails in discussing an extremely elegant study by Matthew Mendez and Christian Grose of USC.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

White House Fool Report: Please can we indict Bremer now?

NYTimes: Investigation Into Missing Iraqi Cash Ended in Lebanon Bunker

I mean, I totally get how you might not want to prosecute somebody for torture, it just sounds so horribly harsh and negative. Feelings would be bound to get hurt.

But Proconsul Bremer calmly watched as several billion of my tax dollars slipped into the aether. "Oops, all that money's gone off somewhere. We'd better have some more, right away!"

He wasn't even curious about where it was going?

Image by cat-harman92 at DeviantArt.

Alas what boots it

Photo by Jim Legans, Jr. Great boots-on-the-ground art on current view at the Riddled Galleries, by the way.
AP is now reporting that the Da'esh advance on Kobane has been "halted":
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Islamic State militants have not been able to advance in Kobani since Friday but are sending in reinforcements. The Observatory's chief, Rami Abdurrahman, said the group appears to have a shortage of fighters and has brought in members of its religious police known as the Hisbah to take part in the battles.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Patron of copy editors

John XXIII was immaculately conceived?
And is it "Pope Saint" or "Saint Pope"?

That broad historical perspective

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/New York Times.

That tense moment of involuntary desegregation...
Knowles is famously tone-deaf. As the racial tensions flared on his city’s streets 10 days after the shooting, he told MSNBC’s Tamron Hall, “There is not a racial divide in the city of Ferguson.” When Hall pushed back, Knowles said, “That is the perspective of all residents in our community. Absolutely.” He said later in the interview, “The city of Ferguson has been a model for the region about how we transition from a community that was predominantly white middle-class to a community that is predominantly African American middle-class.” (Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cheap shot: Not grim, not dank

Lindsay Mills, in a YouTube screenshot captured by Stimme Russlands, Moscow's German-language radio station, where the Cold War does not seem to be quite over—I'm talking about pleased announcements that the Russian Federation has overtaken the US in the number of strategic nuclear warheads.
If you happened to be worried about Eduardo Snowden and how he's been bearing up in his strange new life of exile and whatever, and I'm not saying you were worried, but just in case, Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept wants to assure you that you need worry no longer, because he's doing just fine:

Voters matter less

Images via the late Needtagger.
Shorter David Brooks, "Money Matters Less", New York Times, October 10 2014:
Silly Democrats, worrying themselves sick over that Citizens United decision. Turns out they got plenty of money out of the deal too! Though not so much secret money, I guess. Anyway it hardly matters, since the more money is involved, the less it influences the voters, so it's all good.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Stupid Shit continued

Senwosret III, 12th dynasty, ca. 1878-1840 B.C.E. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Pretty much everything about American politics exhausts me might now, which is why I haven't been writing too much. It's not writer's block exactly. It's just fatigue. What are we doing? How are we going to get out of this jam? Where is all the energy we had back in 2005? Even if I had the energy to try it, I can't organize potted plants.

I guess I am digressing. I am in a mood. There's shit to understand about South Dakota but the public is being custom-fitted for a collective hazmat suit for the brain. Ebola! Benghazi! Hamas! (Booman)
And Kobane! It was more than a little unsettling to see Jon Stewart apparently sucked into the Stupid Shit Caucus war party last night, donating a third of his half-hour to demanding to know why US airstrikes have so far failed to save the Kurdish town of Kobane on the Turkish-Syrian border from the Da'esh advance, and another third to supporting the book tour of chuckleheaded ex-CIA chief Leon Panetta, meaning more Kobane, and more "why didn't we bomb Syria last year?"

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

News from the Stupid Shit Caucus

From the title page of Sebastian Brant's Narrenschiff, 1549. Via Wikipedia.
It's been a staple of abuse of Obama by conservative intellectuals such as Sarah Palin and John McCain (hope you saw what I did there) for some months now that the president is to blame for the ongoing catastrophe in northern Iraq and eastern Syria because he implemented the agreement negotiated between the Iraq and US governments in the last weeks of the Bush administration in December 2008, which was very feckless of him:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Grimes for Senate

Ex-celebrity burglar James O'Keefe (third from right) with fellow demon sheep, after he finished with parole, June 2013, lifted from his Twitter feed by New York Daily News
Looks like young James O'Keefe got one of his operatives to visit Kentucky posing as an outraged out-of-state liberal donor threatening to withhold contributions to Alison Lundergan Grimes because of her backward anti-Obama position on the Kentucky coal industry:

"My friends and I are longing to give all our money to defeat that vile turtle-face McConnell, but alas, how can we contribute our millions to a hillbilly gun hugger who advocates destroying your beautiful Kentucky mountains and giving everybody black lung?"

"Oh no, sir," says some pathetic staffer (fire those people, Alison!), "She's just saying that because she wants to win. And you want her to win, too, right? Besides, she won't have to vote on the issue in the Senate because the coal's gone already."

Although they certainly didn't have permission from Grimes to say so and Grimes certainly did not tell them those were her views (even if they are, which is beside the point). They had no right to say it and they had no idea whether or not it was true. But they did provide some video that O'Keefe is now using to demonstrate that "Grimes is a liar—her own staff says she is".

Anyway I trolled the troglodytes a bit over at a Jim (dumbest man on the Internet) Hoft subsidiary called "Progressives Today", as follows:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday news: George Will is still stupid

Academitasse. Via Caffeine Content.
Conservative columnist George Will on Sunday made a small government argument for dealing with Ebola in the United States, saying that the current government could not be trusted because it had become too large.
“Government is not competent,” Will argued on Fox News Sunday. “Frankly, it is not competent under Republicans or under Democrats. It is always a monopoly, and monopolies are not disciplined by market forces to connect them with reality.” (Raw Story)
Yes indeed. Let's turn the Ebola crisis over to private enterprise. Because there's a lot of profit potential in fighting the disease. How about a joint task force run by Big Pharma and the company formerly known as Xe formerly known as Blackwater (It's now going by "Academi"). The former can work on improved boner pills and resting-face relaxants so people will feel sexier, since Ebola is such a downer it depresses consumption, and that's so bad for the economy, and the latter can shoot everybody in Guinea because they look scary.


That last bit was meant as a gag, obviously, but fearless fascist Todd Kincannon has already gone there in earnest:

Don't just do something, stand there

Image via Heather from the Grove.
So Eric Schmitt in the Times informs us that Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, is barnstorming the ummah, working to get America's Muslim youth off the path of terrorism.
His aim is to build partnerships between the federal government and the local law enforcement, educational and community groups that are better positioned to detect potential militants in their midst and to derail those young men and women from the path of radicalization before they turn violent.

These efforts have been underway since the Sept. 11 attacks, but have often failed to gain traction, government officials acknowledge.
Hm, I wonder why. Maybe we could get an idea from community leaders at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Dublin, Ohio, where Johnson was visiting last week, who

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Just say yes

So Florida women should vote for Rick Scott because he'll push their boobs up and he's really cheap? I don't think this will work.


The Survey USA poll conducted for WFLA-TV in Florida found Crist leading 46 percent to 40 percent among likely voters. That's a 7-point swing for Crist. A previous SurveyUSA poll, conducted from Sept. 19 to Sept. 22, found Scott leading Crist 43 percent to 42 percent among likely voters. That poll was also conducted for WFLA-TV.
I do hope it was the wedding dress ad that did that.

Annals of derp: The Great Depression

Economist Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation, at the College of the Ozarks Free Enterprise Forum in April 2014.
Oh hai Heritage. And what's your Chief Economist Stephen Moore got to cheer about today?
Mr. Burns’ docudrama on the Roosevelts—for those who weren’t bored to tears—repeats nearly all the worn-out fairy tales of the FDR presidency, including what I call the most enduring myth of the 20th century, which is that FDR’s avalanche of alphabet-soup government programs ended the Great Depression. Shouldn’t there be a statute of limitations on such lies?
Well, hm, and what's today's argument about how the New Deal didn't work?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Would Obama have stood up to Mrs. Longworth? Too soon to tell.

City Lights, 1931.
Shorter David Brooks, "The Problem with Pragmatism", New York Times, October 3 2014:
Reading that old Lewis Mumford article in The New Republic makes me realize how those liberal pragmatists today are just the same as they were in 1940, when Mumford had to call them out for failing to join in the struggle against the Soviet Union.
He literally does that! As Aaron Barlow has pointed out in Academe Blog, and as should be obvious anyway, because it was 1940, Mumford's essay (reprinted as part of a celebration of TNR's centenary this year) urged liberals, as you would expect, to stand in opposition to the Soviet Union and Germany, then allies under the Molotov-Ribbentropp pact. Brooks amazingly turns this upside down by leaving the Germany part out:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A spite to remember

Dost Mohammad Khan, via Wikipedia.
Commenter Blueskies at Booman notes on my happy birthday President Carter post:
While Carter was a better president than many give him credit for, we should not forget, in addition to his efforts for middle east peace, his efforts against middle east peace. We are still living (and dying) with the consequences of some of these acts.
1. Not to be too pedantic, the story linked to is about Afghanistan, which is not in the Middle East. Nah, that really is too pedantic, sorry. Also, Googling around, I find there's an aspect missing from the story, which is the correct apportionment of the blame between Carter and the CIA.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Somebody's birthday

In Plains in the 1970s. Hulton Archive/Getty Images, via New York Times.
Happy 90th birthday to President Jimmy Carter, greatest ex-president in the history of the United States! (With the possible exception of John Quincy Adams, who was not too proud to sit in the House of Representatives representing a Massachusetts district for the rest of his life after the presidency, 1831 to 1848, trying to put an end to slavery.)

Carter is maybe the only president who ever did anything directly personally for me, when he blanket-pardoned the Vietnam-era draft dodgers, so I'm biased from the start, but I think his quality as a serving president is drastically undervalued by most on the left even as it is demonized at an Obama level by the right (who can never forgive his efforts against dictatorship and for Middle East peace). Last April, when his book A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power came out, David Masciotra at The Daily Beast summarized some of the progressive aspects of his term that are consistent with, not in opposition to, the values he's shown since he left the White House, especially on the subject of environmental preservation, which has turned out to be the most crucial of all: