Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why Conservatives Have Problems With Fanatics

Those of us on the left-hand side of the political spectrum think that it might be in bad taste to muck up someone's religious icon or text but on the whole we don't particularly care. Those of them on the right-hand side of the political spectrum get enraged when some one mucks about with the bible or Jesus.  Unfortunately for them, complaining about it makes them look like religious fanatics in an increasingly secular world.  What can they do? What can they do?  Bitch about people taking offense at the "desecration" of Islamic texts and icons because no one takes offense at the desecration of Christian texts and icons, which is -- in case you weren't paying attention -- to complain that no one but them and the rest of the professional Christian victims out there is complaining about etc.

Relatedly, the same NRO hero reads of a maniac from the UK in the EU Parliament calling another parliamentarian a Nazi and, while he tut tuts over the unfortunate language, he understands the sentiment and, in general, he is supportive of the maniac from the UK. 

What is it going to take before the professional victims of the right-hand of the political spectrum give over and begin to act like adults?

Friday, November 26, 2010

An Answer to the Question of Why So Few Women are Conservative

K-lo passes on the well wishes of a real he-man conservative:
Preparing to leave for the three hour drive to my in-laws in Chico while my wife continues packing…and packing…and as I wait in the kitchen, reading NRO, it seems a perfect moment to express my appreciation for the consistently fine work your writers and editors deliver.  Thank you.
Ah, how dull life would be without the foibles of the little women and their comedic packing for the holidays while the man o' the house harrumphs his way through a semi-literate vanity project disguised as a serious intellectual endeavor.

WTF is David Brooks on About?

Is there a point to David Brooks' column today? Does he have a copy editor? Is this the loopiest sentence ever written:
There were many consistencies running through Tolstoy’s life, but there were also two phases: first, the novelist; then, the crusader. And each of these activities called forth its own way of seeing.
It couldn't be that Tolstoy changed his "way of seeing," whatever that might be, and consequently adjusted his activity, could it?

And what are we to make of this conclusion:
But public spirited, he also wanted to heal the world directly. Tolstoy devoted himself to activism and spiritual improvement — and paid the mental price. After all, most historical leaders write pallid memoirs not because they are hiding the truth but because they’ve been engaged in an activity that makes it impossible for them to see it clearly. Activism is admirable, necessary and self-undermining — the more passionate, the more self-blinding.
Tolstoy, it would seem, lobotomized himself when he tried to fix the world through spiritual renewal and George Bush wrote a mendacious book on non-existent "Decision Points" because his desire to rescue his reputation from the gutter led him to lie repeatedly about his own and others' actions. Consequently, working to improve the world as it is is proof of blindness and stupidity.

Hear that boys and girls if you are trying to make things better you have blinded yourself to the reality that the world as it is is the best of all possible worlds particularly if you're David Brooks, a man with no discernible skills, and people pay you ridiculous sums of money to make "arguments" both convoluted and empty of content.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Recently some guy at Salon took it upon himself to list the 30 greatest, in the negative sense, hack journalists in America. It's a fine list and, although I might disagree with the ranking -- Brooks is worse than he is being given credit for, and want to see others included, no Clive Crook?  No Megan McArdle? Still.

So what do we make of a serious journalist who engages no less than three of the the Thirty on the same day without once pointing out that they are pathetic chumps?  Perhaps he, for it is a he, is trying his darnedest to get into the pantheon?  In which case, I say, done and done.

Food For Thought

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as I did.  Alan Simpson, as most of you know, was the head of the the debt commission and he concluded that the best way forward was to slash poor and middle class folks with a riding crop while lavishing more czar-era goodies on the rich and super-rich.  Recently, he sat down and explained himself to the Wyoming Tribune.

Why are people opposed to the riding crop slashing?  Because, he says, "We had the greatest generation -- I think this is the greediest generation[.]"

Who should be not listen to?
You don't want to listen to the right and the left -- the extremes," he said. "You don't want to listen to Keith Olbermann and Rush Babe [Limbaugh] and Rachel Minnow [sic] or whatever that is, and Glenn Beck. They're entertainers. They couldn't govern their way out of a paper sack -- from the right or the left. But they get paid a lot of money from you and advertisers -- thirty, fifty million a year -- to work you over and get you juiced up with emotion, fear, guilt, and racism. Emotion, fear, guilt, and racism.
I am particularly fond of Rush Babe.

What do we need more of in our crazy world of teat sucking greedheads?
There are 18 of us on the commission, and it took us four months to establish trust," he said. "That's how bad things are in Washington. Four, five months before we could trust somebody not to leak what we said or go out and crater it.
Trustiness and riding crop slashing is the clear way forward.

All the same he
really believe[s] that there are more patriots in America than selfish, selfish people.
 So, ultimately, the patriotic riding crop slashers will overcome the Rachel Minnows of the world and all will be safe for czardom.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Keith Moon and Financial Reform

This essay on Keith Moon's drumming and Keith more generally is just really good.  I've always, since 1972 anyway, thought that The Who was rock's greatest band. The essay helps to explain why.

This essay is particularly good on the social uselessness of most of the financial market.  Remember, as an example, this guy who got rich off the housing market failure whose only useful contribution was his and his fellow investors getting rich off the housing market failure.

Also, next year when the Republicans drag Elizabeth Warren in front of the Congress every time she tries to stop more socially useless financial shenanigans let's see who the Tea Party Patriots stand up for the shenaniganers or the folks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Progress and Republican Obstructionism

In this morning's Wisconsin State Journal there was a report on Middleton looking into one of those bike share dealies.  I predict that tomorrow if not sooner, some Republican/Tea Party Patriot will explode with rage about the wasted spending.  Why?  Because they hate America.  Seriously.

Consider, Scott Walker has foolishly halted the train, despite the fact that everybody thinks we need to do more to prepare for the future and create jobs today.  The train would do both. And what's more it is a clear attempt to do something, which drive Repbulicans/Tea Party Patriots mad. They don't want to do anything; they want to sit around and carp about all the things that have bee done successfully.

The bike share deally actually ties into the train because both are sensible attempts to increase transportation choice at low cost and high benefit for all. Imagine if small outlying communities came to Madison and Middleton for the fun that both offer and were able to ride bikes around for yet even more fun.  Why, it would make the world funner and, more importantly, it would be doing something.

Republicans and Tea Party Patriots would rather sit in a mud puddle that lift a finger to make the world a better organized, more pleasant, and funner place.