Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cheap shots but not *that* cheap

Sully, via YouTube.
Paying my respects to the late

I have to say when Andrew Sullivan said in January 2013 that his readers would have to fork over $20 a year to partake of his Dish I respected that.

In fact I respected it enough to not go over there, standing on my own principle that nothing he wrote could possibly be worth that much, or any, money, except once in a great while when driven by the exigencies of some Brooksological problem (because Brooksy definitely dipped into Sully from time to time for the heavyweight intellectual material, including for his epic tour of early 20th-century Russian philosophy and his tragically doomed attempt to grasp the thinking of the psychoanalyst Adam Philipps). If it was really important to him, I figured, to keep his readership down to the class of those who were willing to commit, I'd stay away.

I remember thinking on one of these brief visits that he was spending a lot of words boasting about how well his business model was holding up, and I'm wondering now how well that actually was, given that it's only lasted two years (CNN reports that he reported last year gross revenues "bumping up against $1 million" and still has 30,000 subscribers, but he's also been paying EIGHT additional editors to assist him in his labors, which is about eight more than Atrios needs for what looks like about the same amount of work—Atrios does his with far fewer words and practically no cut-and-paste, so a layperson may not realize it's the same, but it is).

I'll miss reading about him over chez Driftglass, which was always a lot of fun, but I won't, like, miss him miss him, if you know what I mean. I sincerely hope he enjoys spending more time with his family, and I can't say that about everybody (as in I hope Dick Cheney and his family administer agonizing slow poisons to each other; I hope Sully's life is pleasant and if he writes anything for the public as opposed to his personal paying fan club I'll even look at it occasionally).

Endorsement by the Des Moines Register, December 2011. "Vote for me, I haven't been the governor of Massachusetts for years."

I'm bored with 2016

I hope I'm not this bored with 2016 when it actually is 2016. The Republicans seem more loserish than they did in 2012, and that's saying a lot, and Clinton's characteristic caution—biggest excitement for Mike Allen is wondering whether her announcement's coming in April or June—does not make her fascinating, though I have a kind of stupid person's admiration of her unremitting cheerfulness and her fun-old-lady face. She is certainly the candidate I'd willingly have a beer with.

I have a theory about Romney, which is that he is being pushed by some kind of secret deep-Republican cabal, probably an anti-Koch one, that has decided there's no way a Republican can win the presidency next year, and is looking for the most self-financing candidate—I figure he understands the theory that he should have spent some of his own money last time and will be back in his 2008 form (for that campaign, in which he didn't have a ghost of a chance, he kicked in $42 million, and for 2016 you could imagine him doubling that)—while they focus their generosity on Congressional and state legislative contests and generally displacing the Kochs as the party's hidden overlords, because the Kochs are so weak in economics it's as terrifying to an actual conservative as it is to a liberal. [update: Darn it, he's out! Out, but not down, I say: "He added that it was “unlikely” that he would change his mind."]

Hounds Sterling

It's annoying that I was apparently so wrong about what was going to happen to Jeffrey Sterling. In June 2012 I was sure that neither he nor John Kiriakou nor Stephen Kim was going to go to jail, and with two out of three failures as of last August I was still convinced that Sterling would cop a plea and that there would be no trial for the New York Times reporter to whom he allegedly told his tale of CIA incompetence in Iran, James Risen, to refuse to testify at. I unhesitatingly believe the bad things Sterling is supposed to have said about the Agency, and I can largely believe the bad things the Agency says about him, i.e., that his actions were intended in a more petty and vindictive than civic-minded way, but I cannot see how he was convicted by a jury of espionage and faces more than about six months in prison (apparently he could get 80 years).

Back in 2012 I believed that Scott Shane and Charlie Savage had uncovered the real reason Eric Holder was determined to prosecute these Bush-era pseudo-crimes:
Mr. Holder, a former career prosecutor, could have halted any of the cases. But to block a case after years of investigation might anger the prosecutors who are supposed to take it to trial.
And I still do think that. It's not the brogressives' rabid tyrant Holder and Obama slavering to put those defiant leakers away for the rest of their lives, it's just sad. Holder and Obama have to choose their battles, and they don't feel they can afford to take into consideration that a particular choice will put people in jail who don't deserve to be there or fail to jail people who deserve it a lot; not that they don't care, perhaps, but they don't or can't care all that much.

I hope Loretta Lynch, who appears to have shown a pretty elegant forthrightness on the subjects of torture and the president's immigration initiative, is a little less frightened of the US attorneys. I'll take just a little. If it doesn't make Jefferson Beauregard Sessions block the nomination, which I guess he just may.

Lynch in the Senate Judiciary Committee, via Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald.

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