Friday, August 12, 2011

Getting There

I realize that this may seem a bit cryptic; however, the best way to cycle to Sauk City is Old Sauk to Bourbon to P, to whatever that street is that goes by the Uphill Grind, to KP to Mazo take Y and Bob's your uncle. Saw three Sand Hill Cranes and only 2 cars tried to kill me. In addition, Mazo may be the single most depressing city outside of Upstate.

UPDATE: If you want to get all the way to Sauk, you have to turn left on 78. Also, too make sure to stop in Black Earth and  pick up some of the bratwursts from either the restaurant/meat market or Black Earth Meats. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Here in Wisconsin: About Last Night

So 2 Dems won and 4 lost. The trend, as they say, is better for Dems than for Walker and The Reps:

Olsen really lost traction, although Cowles gained. The overall, however, looks good. Also too, remember the last statewide, Prosser v whatshername, was close to 50/50. And Kloppenberg came from nowhere.

Conservatives Hate Reality

We hear a lot about the Right making its own reality, ignoring facts, and more generally living in a fantasy world.
Here's a picture:

Was you first thought: security guard wannabe? Mine too.

Here's what some NRO flying monkey wrote:
No, that isn’t Brando. Close though. It’s James Lileks, one of America’s wittiest writers (and it turns out he’s darned witty when he talks, too).

Here's a picture of Brando before, you know, the eating and Larry King kissing:

Leaving aside Brano's hair and the, I don't know, general beauty, they are as alike as chalk and cheese.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Unbearable Lightness of Apolitical Technocratism

Over to the Crooked Timber, there was a flurry of posts on left neoliberalism. One of the key points raised was its cluelessness when it comes to politics because of its technocraticism, should that be a word. Today, it seems to me, Krugman shows that this kind of cluelessness is more widespread than you might think.

He writes of the Fed's announcements on rate hikes, i.e., there won't be any with these, I won't say snotty or sophmoric but I will think them, remarks:
The Fed didn’t announce a new policy. And despite what some press reports said, it didn’t even commit to keeping rates low; all it did was say that if the economy stays weak, rates will stay low — well, duh — and that it might think about doing other stuff one of these days [.]
He then notes that " three members of the FOMC dissented even from that" silly, obvious and totally  duh worthy utterance. Get that? Something that was so obviously obvious roughly 1/3 of the board voted no. I bet the the 2/3s who voted yes are thrilled to find out that Krugman thinks that they are dolts and dullards.

Then he writes that
if you really thought that the Plosser-Kocherlakota view that rates need to rise even in the face of low inflation and high unemployment because, well, they just should was going to prevail, this might have given you some comfort.
What he means here is something like "just because the people who have been wrong about everything  didn't get their way this time there's no reason to be happy and praise those who did the right thing. The important point is to belittle people with whom you hope to craft a policy alliance."

Not, of course, that there is anything wrong with that. Except to the extent that alienating potential allies in a desperate moment is bad idea.

Thatcher, Reagan, Bush I and II, Clinton and Major Never Existed, to Say Nothing of New Labor

From the NRO
They say everything old is new again, and that is certainly true of the British riots. The main areas of outbreak — Tottenham, Brixton, Toxteth in Liverpool — were scenes of similar riots and disorder in the 1980s and early ’90s. To that extent, they show how 14 years of Labour-party rule merely papered over the cracks in British society.
What baffles is this Thatcher and Reagan get all the credit for changing the debate from "welfare state" to "neoliberal state." And since then, we have suffered under one form or another of neoliberalism. It didn't work. There were clearly inflationary problems with the post-War Consensus prior to the horrors of "stagflation." However, the right  neoliberals insisted that under their watch the rising tide would life all boats while the left neoliberals insisted that welfare would aid those whose boats leaked.  Neither state of affairs have come to pass.

So what is to be done? At the  moment, here in the US it's Obama's neoliberalism, Romney's whateverism, or Bachman/Perry Christianism. It is, I think, too early to start drinking and too late to follow John Prine's advice:

Racoons Sans Beetles

From TPM we hear of a Republican candidate for Senate who thinks that
[t]he raccoons figured out the beetles are in the bucket," Bruning said. "And its like grapes in a jar. The raccoons - they're not stupid, they're gonna do the easy way if we make it easy for them. Just like welfare recipients all across America. If we don't send them to work, they're gonna take the easy route.
Some quick points: First there are no jobs. There have been ever fewer decently paying jobs since Regan. There has been ever less "welfare" and ever more "workfare" since Regan. Workfare, I learned last night, includes "training" people for all manner of gainful employment. Like detasseling corn, which as "workfare" means that the trainees get no pay but rather "workfare" payments, which is another way of saying the state  operating as capital's business manager organizes the reserve labor army thus decreasing the "fixed" cost of labor. Neoliberalism, it can't be said enough, hates people.

Obstruction! Obstruction!

Michele Bachmann demands that Obama recall Congress because something must be done about the current crisis.

On of her fellow Tea Party maniacs explains what will be done to deal with the current ciris while
[a]t a town hall meeting yesterday, a Tea Party member urged Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) to bring impeachment proceedings against President Obama in the House. Burgess replied, “It needs to happen, and I agree with you it would tie things up…No question about that.” When asked to clarify, Burgess said he wasn’t sure what the proper charged to bring against Obama would be, but reiterated his support for such a move. “We need to tie things up,” he said. “The longer we allow the damage to continue unchecked, the worse things are going to be for us.” Burgess joins numerous House Republicans in their impeachment-saber rattling.

It's not as if the Republicans and not just the Tea Partiers have made not-doing anything a policy its that they are willing to do anything to not do anything. Think additional stimulus is the wrong policy? Impeach Obama. It's just stunning to me that these anti-American bufflaheads can say this and it isn't the lead story in every paper in the country.

Oh and for what it's worth, I would argue that the recall elections here in Wisconsin are different precisely because they are about 1) substantive disagreement on policies 2) result from a heretofore unannounced policy shift and 3) at the very least involved the misuse of the democratic process to limit the public's and their representatives understanding and knowledge of the radical alterations imposed with the aid of ALEC and others from outside the state.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I like crocheted bike gloves. I used to buy the Performance bike one because they were really good quality and cheap. Now, however, they no longer make or, at least, sell them. So I started buying the Bontrager ones. Last year, for example, I bought two but ordered them through the LBS because you know support matters. It took a month and half for the gloves to show. So this year, I bought two pair from Trek's online store. The gloves showed up in two days, I think it was. Amazing. A week or two after wearing one every third day, there's glove rotation in my life, one them did this:

I used their web-based contact email dealio on the 2nd, got an email from them on the third asking for the picture. Sent the picture on the same day; received a reply on the the fifth telling me to expect the gloves next week. On Friday these showed up in the mail:

My only complaint is aesthetic: I wish they were the color of the original crocheted gloves, which is the red whit and blue of French - or I always assumed it was the French.
Let's hear it for Trek. Not only fine bike, great service and "giving back," screw Bike Snob's anti-Trek bike snobery.