Saturday, July 9, 2011

Supper Time

Pork, potatoes, asparagus, and beets; tasted better than it looked and it doesn't look that bad:

The Tour Baby

Via we learn that Salon has a bunch of really cool pictures of Tour de Frances past. My favorites:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Who's An Elite?

Paul Ryan, he of the merits of austerity, spends his spare time drinking 350 dollar bottles of wine while scheming to foreclose on the widow Wilson. You would think that this chowder-heads would at least have the decency to wallow in their own crapulance in the privacy of some gated community or another.

Is This True?

Just know Paul Sherwin claims that the Schleck brothers' Leopard-Trek takes is first name from the German, which is to say Nazi Germany, tank the Leopard because the team "is going to steamroll everyone during the tdf." Should this be true, I now have to cheer for Kloedi. I was wrong, see comments.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


When I was an undergraduate I took a course in literary theory. One argument concerned aporia, which meant the point at which an author or text, depending on how you looked at it, contradicted itself. So here are two aporia, at least as I see it, that expose the underlying cupidity and stupidity of a texts author.

The first is John Derbyshire all around NRO idiot. He denies that the current conservative jihad against education is hypocritical because:
I personally would be delighted for my kids to learn some useful trade like plumbing. I personally would be delighted for my kids to learn some useful trade like plumbing.
He also
take[s] exception, though, to the several commenters jeering at us NRO elite types as being desperate to get high-elite credentials for our own kids even as we scoff at the real value of those credentials
Yet when his daughter, whose work ethic is beyond compare, doesn't want to go to college he
 talked her into it, though, and this fall she’ll attend a local state college. She has no idea of any particular direction she wants to go in, but we’re hoping something will occur in the first year or two. With a work ethic like hers, she’ll excel at whatever she ends up doing. We’d just prefer it was something a bit higher up the occupational-status ladder than putting chocolate chips into cookies.
So two aporia in one essay. He argues that he wishes one of his kids had some working-class skills and when one of them shows the signs, not wanting to go to college and the ability to succeed in any field, he refuses to let her pursue the dream of becoming a plumber. Plus also he rejects the notion that he rejects working class occupations even as he reject working class occupations for his darling daughter. What's even odder is that he is going to send her to the gulag of public education supported, as it is, by the theft of producers honest wealth by the parasites. Idiot, in the ancient Greek sense of imbecile.

Over to the Crooked Timber there is an essay on rape culture, which I understand to mean the way in which rapists are excused from being rapists by pointing to the improbability of this male raping that female. One of the dissidents asks how can oral sex be violently coerced and another commentator explains, quite reasonably, by threats of violence and death, the skeptic replies:
C’mon, LB,we are generalizing away from the specific case again.
DSK was not going to murder the maid in his hotel room.
Yes that's right, no well connected, powerful man has ever killed a women over sex and its denial and, what is more, all hotel maids know that someone well connect and powerful isn't going to kill them.

It's not the stupidity so much as it is the idiocy that gets my goat.


Every year I watch the Tour and every year I am forced to conclude that sprinters are the neurotic divas of the cycling world.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Is This True?

Over to Crooked Timber, John Quigqan argues that
[t]he problem for social democrats is to keep [capitalism's unmatched] dynamism and innovation[2] while delivering more stable and sustainable, and less unjust outcomes. I’m planning to write yet more about this, but in the meantime, it’s open for comment.
Things like medicinal advances aren't necessarily the result of "capitalism," understood as an economic system, as much as they are the result of state sponsored education; while the internets, at least as I understand their development, derived from state sponsored research at universities and the military. Making money off of medicinal advances and the internets, to be sure, rely on capitalism. Unfairly monopolizing the profits of the current economic system relies on "capitalist" obtaining state protection from competition and workers, who want enough to live on. Surely, the first step to imposing humanism on economics requires some sort of discussion that differentiates between dynamism and innovation in the service of the greatest good the smaller number and the greatest good for the greatest many, no?

By the way, the comments are well worth reading particularly for a robust and, as near as I can tell, correct defense of Marx's labor theory of value from Quiggan's  familiar and far to off-handed dismissal.

The comments are now closed over there but toward the end Quiggan asks, in the service of disproving Marx's point about increasing number and quality of capitialism's crises, if the current mess is as bad as the great depression. One commentator makes the perfectly sensible point that it's early days yet.

The recent job report for these United States, long may its commitment to alternative transportation wave, is pretty darned dire and all the policies that mitigate the damage done by capitalism's periodic crises are being rolled back world wide, which -- combined with the austerity mania -- suggests that we've not nearly reached our nadir. Added to that that here the attacks on unions, loss of decently paying jobs, and commitment to disenfranchising anyone who might maybe vote for more sensible politicians suggests that, in fact, things are going to get and stay worse. Where is the FDR, a man who changed his mind about balanced budgets and state intervention, of today?

Here in Wisconsin: Welcome to the Chain Gang Edition

Shortly after the war against the treasonous Southerns and there indefensible slave holding economy concluded some the previous slave holder decided that the answer was to use prisoners as quasi-slaves. Thanks to the Fitzgeralds, Scott Walker and the Koch Brothers those happy days are here again:

As the Madison Capital Times reports, “Besides losing their right to negotiate over the percentage of their paycheck that will go toward health care and retirement, unions also lost the ability to claim work as a ‘union-only’ job, opening the door for private workers and evidently even inmates to step in and take their place.” Inmates are not paid for their work, but may receive time off of their sentences.
The law went into effect last week, and Racine County is already using inmates to do landscaping, painting, and another basic maintenance around the county that was previously done by county workers. The union had successfully sued to stop the country from using prison labor for these jobs last year, but with Walker’s new law, they have no recourse. 
Onward into the fog, as it were, as the Right returns America to those thrilling days of yore when the state functioned as the property owners' business manager.

New Ride

Mine, that is. Nearly perfect, it needs only a  front rack. Oh, and as by the way, I've had just about enough of the bike shop boyos who are under the impression that they know more about how I ride my bike than I do and, whatismore, have no idea how disc brakes work.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Via Ecovelo comes the latest from the Copenhagen government on the most cycling friendly city known to humanity, or so it seems. In which we find this:

Why Copenhageners cycle
It’s faster 55 %
It’s more convenient 33 %
It’s healthy 32 %
It’s cheap 29 %
Good way to start the day 21 %
Shortest route to work after
changing job or residence 10 %
Environmental/climate concerns 9 %
What Copenhageners
like about cycling
It makes me feel good 26 %
It de-stresses me, it’s relaxing 20 %
I discover the city 19 %
Lots of cycle tracks 18 %
I experience the seasons 18 %