Saturday, May 31, 2014

Straw dogs

Straw Dog photo from China News Service. Typical People's Republic, no credit to the photographer or even the author of the piece it illustrates, but there's an editor name, because hierarchy.
Via Steve M ("Libertarian Talk is Cheap"), I'm looking at a weird article by the editor in chief of Reason, one Nick Gillespie, who's been living by his own account off Koch brothers philanthropy for 21 years and wants us to know that old Charles and David are not hypocritical moralist Republican authoritarians but literally—wait for it—too liberal for the John Birch Society:

Friday, May 30, 2014

Vampire foreign policy

"I never drink... wine."
Shorter David Brooks, "The Autocracy Challenge", May 30 2014:
Obama's proposal to make U.S. foreign policy less violent is all very well, but autocrats. It has been scientifically proven that autocrats need to be cockslapped every 17 months or so. And there's an autocrat under my bed, Daddy, I'm scared.
Big Dick Cheney was visible on the TV complaining about Obama, and specifically his approach to Iraq and Afghanistan, and I was so shocked by this public display of um, [jump]

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Interlocutors

Zurich striker Loris Benito copes with a marten on the field, March 2013. Photo by Marcel Bieri.
So I'm listening to the Steve Inskeep interview of the president on foreign policy this morning, basically on the above-the-fold wars, in Ukraine and Syria, and it sounds to me, to tell the truth, as if he's waffling—waffling and maybe blustering a bit, using a lot of words like "robust" and "success", but the thing is: he's not arguing with me.

Or rather, he's not arguing against me; the imaginary person he's debating is the one represented in Inskeep's questions, who's worried or affects to be worried [jump]

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Glennemy within

Chips and sandwich. Photo by Jim Rice, Sydney Morning Herald.
It is quite possible that I will never read any reviews of Glenn Greenwald's No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, NSA and the US National Security State, but if I do, Michael Kinsley's effort in the New York Times Book Review will not be one of them, because I'm one of those stupid people whose judgment of who to pay attention to is biased by prior experience; I hardly ever read anything by Greenwald unless the fact of his writing it is the news in its own right or I'm really looking for trouble, because I can't stand his style and figure if he has anything important to say somebody else will repeat it; and I never read anything by Kinsley because I can't imagine he would have anything important to say. Well, OK, I'll look at it.

Yup, he does say

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tough-minded man gets mushy

Update: Welcome Cowgirls and Cowboys from Mike's Roundup at C&L! Make yourselves at home! (and thanks for the shoutout, TG)

Animation from Edward Muybridge's Descriptive Zoopraxography (1893), via Wikimedia Commons.
The simple, shapely format Brooks adopted for Part I of his "Summer Reading—Not" list, a list of four items bookended by an opening and a concluding paragraph, has turned out to be too hard to sustain, and this morning's Part II is just a mess, but there's something interesting going on.

He begins with a Brooksian dichotomy between "Athens" and "Jerusalem", the former for books that will improve you by firing up your external ambition, the latter by cultivating your spiritual side. But he only has one Athens book in mind, really, Thucydides's [jump]

Monday, May 26, 2014

I believe in Slovenia

Beppe Grillo of the Movimento Cinque Stelle, at a press conference.
As the world began fretting today over the fascist takeover of the European Parliament (which is not in fact going to happen, I'm glad to say; the elections results are bad and no doubt very embarrassing to a lot of people, especially in France and England, but there will be maybe 87 anti-Europe MEPs at the most out of the 751 total seats, not enough to bring the edifice down), it occurred to me that the election results provided the data for a little test of a hypothesis I'm interested in: the idea that high voter turnout tends to benefit the left but may also benefit the extreme right. Especially because nobody was talking about turnout except to observe, vapidly, that it was higher this year than in 2009 (43.1% overall compared to 43.0% last time, which is about as significant as—well, probably not very significant).

Anyway I found the results with turnout figures by country at the Parliament's own website, and used them to construct the chart below, which cost me many hours and probably brain cells that could have been useful as I slouch toward senility, and probably still contains some serious errors:

Fretful symmetry

Astroturf nail art by Marlene Vinha.
Monsignor Ross Douthat, the apostolic nuncio to 42nd Street, is interested in the fate of the "Tea Party" in last Tuesday's primaries and in its long-term effect on the Republican party, which he thinks he can clarify by comparing it to something even more imaginary:
think about another recent grass-roots movement that reshaped our politics: the netroots/Deaniac/antiwar insurgency, which roiled the Democratic Party between 2003 and the ascendance of Barack Obama.
I swear I was right there, joined MoveOn in 2003, and I'm still waiting for our politics to be reshaped or at least to see the old party just a little bit roiled. My best recollection [jump]

Sunday, May 25, 2014

We send Tweets

Following on reporting from Tengrain and M. Bouffant on the Associated Press's cowardly misreporting of what happened at Richard Martinez's press conference on the murder of his son Chris by a person who should not have been permitted to carry a gun, I have sent the following Tweet to the AP:

And while we're up, here's—my, my, my, it's Todd Kincannon speaking, as TBogg says, for his comrades of the conservative persuasion on his view of Richard Martinez:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Annals of derp: The latest from Benghazi

War criminal Allen West trying to go full McCarthy, with a tale of a seatmate on a flight from Detroit who told him what *really* went on in Benghazi:
West’s source also informed him that there was a covert weapons scheme going on in Benghazi that saw us arming radical Islamists with weapons so they could overthrow Gaddafi. West says that it’ll make Iran-Contra “look like the Romper Room,” and that it came back to bite us in the end.
Worst was when those thugs found out they were wasting their time, given that Qaddafi had been dead for nearly a year.
Image by Liza Sabater.
(I think it's pretty well known that if the CIA was funneling weapons anywhere out of Benghazi it was to opposition in Syria, which is bad enough to make Iran-Contra look like, maybe, Teletubbies, but only because it looked like Teletubbies in the first place.)

Can't let West go without noting the extraordinarily McCarthyite shamelessness and slime with which he attempted last week to impugn the patriotism of Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who lost three limbs in Iraq (of course West lost his honor as a man and a soldier in Iraq, so maybe he feels as if he's her equal in some respect).

Why, this room is filthy!

Get all that dirt back under the rug where it belongs!
From a totally irrelevant discussion at ChessWorld.

From the must-be-read long piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates on the subject of reparations to the black community for the centuries of crimes perpetrated on it by the majority population:
A country curious about how reparations might actually work has an easy solution in Conyers’s bill, now called HR 40, the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act. We would support this bill, submit the question to study, and then assess the possible solutions. But we are not interested.
“It’s because it’s black folks making the claim,” Nkechi Taifa, who helped found N’COBRA, says. “People who talk about reparations are considered left lunatics. But all we are talking about is studying [reparations]. As John Conyers has said, we study everything. We study the water, the air. We can’t even study the issue? This bill does not authorize one red cent to anyone.”
Yep. We can't study it. And I think it's pretty clear why: because we know in advance what kind of conclusions such a commission would be forced to reach if it had any intellectual honesty at all, that reparations are owed. And that "full faith and credit" they love to talk about was tossed out long ago, on this issue. They'd have to take that blindfold off.

Of course Congress decided a long time ago it should be against the law to study whether gun violence affects the nation's health, finally lifting the prohibition last October, and the House just ordered the Defense Department not to study climate change. Do I detect a pattern?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Great Brooks of the Western World

Hedgehog, via NPR.
David Brooks writes:
People constantly ask me what my favorite books are, and while I think it would be self-indulgent for me to devote a column to that I'm going to write two columns instead, covering four books this week and four next, because after all summer is practically here, and the new interns haven't shown up yet.
"A Collection of Essays" by George Orwell. I learned everything I know about good writing from Orwell, along with C.S. Lewis, who is practically the same in the sense that both use strong and simple language, and it's from [jump]

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Autumn in New York, starting early this year

Trump University campus as visualized by Darrow at Vanity Fair.
New York Times trying to create some drama over the local elections in June, suggests that attorney general Eric Schneiderman could be in trouble:
New York Republicans, vastly outnumbered and hungry to reclaim a statewide office after years of famine, are energized at the prospect of taking on Mr. Schneiderman, a Democrat, and say they have a realistic chance of dethroning him in November....

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Revolutionaries

Canada gosling (and parent), Riverside South; overdone lighting by Google+.
Via Frank Rich reporting on the rightwing self-described "humorist" Greg Gutfield:
 In Not Cool, Gutfeld writes that “the haters of the old white male forget that it was a hardy group of old white men who created this country.”
That's an interesting misapprehension. They were undeniably white and male, but they weren't especially old. In 1776, in fact, they were almost all quite a bit younger [jump]

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Roots of D'Souza's Rage: Postscript

Philandering, inebriated Indian pro-colonialist cops plea, will take ten months of not very hard time.
Unsound Dinesh D'Souza gazes at the beyond, as the shikara-wallah (head cut off by the camera-wallah, because what would he need a head for?) propels him into the Heart of Darkness. From his movie, via Albany Times-Union.
To tell the truth, I don't know whether he's inebriated or not, but I wouldn't be surprised. I bet he has a G&T when the sun goes over the yardarm just for the memories of keeping the malaria at bay and then says, "Shall we have the other half?" And then a little [jump]

If it's Tuesday, this must be a revolution

Image via ComicVine.
So, remember all that heart-rending stuff about how if we want to understand human problems we have to go beyond data, research, and even journalism to experience the Other through affection, empathy, and selfless love? Well, that's just so last week.

This week Brooks has a favor to do for some influential people, the editor-in-chief of The Economist and its Schumpeter Columnist (that's a real title!), John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, with a new book that needs publicizing from the various organs of the vast rightwing conspiracy, so now all his selfless love has to be channeled out to [jump]

Monday, May 19, 2014

Cheap shot: Li'l Tucker

Via Crooks & Liars, 2010.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Sunday said that liberals were making a “racist attack” by pointing out that “white privilege” exists in America.
During an interview on Fox News, Carlson noted that conservative columnist Kurt Schlichter had been criticized for a recent column claiming what people thought was white privilege was “just me being better than you.”
“I mean, it’s silly on its face,” the Fox News host opined. “Some white people are privileged, some aren’t. Some black people are, some aren’t. It’s strikes me as, by definition, a racist attack in that it’s making a generalization — a negative one — based on skin color.” (Raw Story)
I know right.

Sunday troll-baiting: Weapons of Mass Disjunction

From boarmasters.com.
The genial Barracks O'Bama had spotted the quarry first; she was an extremely frisky specimen, and by the time I ran across them Barracks was feeling some fatigue:
Thus gloriously and unwounded did Barracks retire from the field. But a deep fog of derp still hung about the meadow, the birds sang, and my blood was up. Dr. Google and I dumped some tempting evidence in front of the opening to the troll's cave:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cheap shots and balls in the air

The Amiga Juggler, via Jason Scott.
Maureen Dowd on Condoleezza Rice (whom she naturally calls "Condi"):
But, as Russell Baker once noted, she was trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube, spinning her wheels in the second term trying to undo the disasters of the first.
She has nothing particularly surprising or even wrong to say on the subject; what really interested me is that she managed to find Russell Baker, of all people, using two desperate clichés in one brief sentence, as remarkable a feat in its way as finding rhinestones in a pearl oyster.

Actually (thanks as ever, Dr. Google!), what Baker said in his great 2008 New York Review article is so refreshing as a kind of palate cleanser after a few Dowd paragraphs that it's worth quoting at length:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

And in the international Greenwalding circuit

Used for somewhat relevant purposes by YoStatus.
Earlier this week, Greenwald came so close to noticing himself being wrong about something:
Snowden was almost certain this meant that the NSA had identified him as the likely source of the leaks, but I was sceptical. "If they thought you did this, they'd send hordes of FBI agents with a search warrant and probably Swat teams, not a single NSA officer and a human-resources person." I figured this was just an automatic and routine inquiry, triggered when an NSA employee goes absent for a few weeks without explanation.
But the moment passed quickly. It wouldn't be the last time, anyway, that he was unnecessarily terrified of the jack-booted thugs of our police state. There was this, for instance, from October 2013:
Glenn Greenwald would like to go home to the United States, at least for a visit. But the Guardian journalist and blogger is afraid to do so. He still has material and unpublished stories from his contacts with fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden that he believes U.S. authorities would love to get their hands on.  The nine-hour detention and interrogation of Greenwald's Brazilian partner David Miranda by British security services at London's Heathrow airport in August has only compounded his fears.
I remember! I was so struck by the way Wallace Shawn was forced to go to hot, unpleasant Brazil to stage a private performance of his Greenwald play just last January so Greenwald could see it without risking his life. And yet our intrepid journalist managed to show up in April to collect his Polk Award. So now he's afraid to go to England:
There’s only one country that has been consciously excluded from the tour – in fact, only one country in the world that Greenwald says he absolutely will not visit. It is the UK. The wounds left by the detention under the Terrorism Act of his partner, Miranda, at Heathrow airport last August, are still open and deep.... “I don’t trust them not to detain me, interrogate me and even arrest me. Their behaviour has been so extreme and offensive, and the political and media class was so supportive of it, that I feel uncomfortable with the entire atmosphere,” says Greenwald.
Does that mean he's angling for a Hackademy Award from the Press Gazette for his work getting interviewed by Guardian reporters? Only Time (or more likely Spiegel) will tell. Meanwhile Zandar the Great and Terrible informs us that Glenn got that movie deal, with Sony Pictures, or as Glenn affectionately calls them
Liberal Hollywood has produced the ultimate hagiography of the most secretive arm of America's National Security State, while liberal film critics lead the parade of praise and line up to bestow it with every imaginable accolade
 so it's all good.

Saturday cheap shot: The nativists are restless

Image via Blog with a View.
From the Heritage Facebook page, clickbait that would do NewsMax proud:
Why isn't this headlining the news?
Bowing to pressure...it's no excuse.
THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION


Actually, though, the story isn't exactly a secret, having been reported by CBS and USA Today, among others, and has approximately zero connection to President Obama, and it's maybe a little less shocking than it thinks, too. It's the report of a report by the [jump]

Friday, May 16, 2014

Chutes 'n' Ladders of Understanding; or, Which Way is Up?

Ani's a Spaceman (or is Spacewoman used?) by Scott Altmann, via How to Carve Roast Unicorn.
This is your intergalactic correspondent David Brooks reporting from a little-known corner near the Andromeda Cluster where he's been trying to get the skinny on the inhabitants of this curious little blue planet, but it hasn't been easy.
Let’s say you wanted to move from a dry, statistical understanding of a problem to a rich, humane one. How would you do it? What steps would you take on your climb toward understanding?
I think I'd ask why I was starting with a dry, statistical understanding in the first place. I'd want to start someplace at least moderately humane so I'd have a clue what the data were about, you know what I'm saying?
Well, obviously, first you’d start with the data.
No, I really wouldn't. I'd—

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Annals of Derp: Upshot or Upstoned?

Image via Kumar Deepak.
Just caught a remarkable piece of fluff or perhaps navel lint signed by Brendan Nyhan at the Times's new Upshot site: a Wisdom-of-Crowds piece on how while we all know that coin tossing does a better job of making predictions than media pundits, if you put them together to make one big parallel-processing device you might get something worth knowing.

Thus, for example, a Wall Street Journal exercise (see table below) put together a list of 17 Republican and Democratic holders-forth and their predictions as to which party would win the Senate in November. Their numbers turned out to be strictly partisan [jump]

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Biden their time

Via.
This, via Euro-paranoid correspondent Oui at the Booman Tribune (he's the smartest and best informed paranoid you ever want to deal with, no snark), is very disheartening news as far as I'm concerned:

Joe Biden’s Son Appointed to Board of Directors of Ukraine’s Largest Gas Company

Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, has been appointed to the board of directors of Burisma Holdingsa privately-owned natural gas company operating in the Ukraine since the year 2002. Burisma Holdings has become a considerable player within the Ukrainian natural gas and oil industry, with licences covering  the Dnieper-Donets, Carpathian and Azov-Kuban basins. The production capability has reached over 10,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOEPD) which has left the company with considerable reserves.
And from the snark staff at the Guardian:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Self-Confidence Man

David Brooks writes:
There's an astonishing article in the current issue of The Atlantic summarizing a new book by Catty Kay and Claire Shipman, The Confidence Code.* Social science reveals, it turns out, that women suffer from a lack of self-confidence!
Harold Lloyd in Movie Crazy (1932), via The Man on the Flying Trapeze.
No, for reals, with empirical evidence. They consistently underestimate the value of things they've done, like their results on a test, or what they will do in the future, like the size of their paychecks five years from now.** [jump]

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Devil his due

"Young Goodman Brown", from PowerPop Comics.
So remind me, Kathryn Jean, about where you stand on the vital importance of religious freedom in our exceptional country, where our Founding Fathers understood so deeply how important it is to protect the bishop/CEO from having any portion of any check cut by his accountant go to lowering the price on some nurse's aide's IUD?

Ah, yes, on the Black Mass planned for the Queen's Head Pub on the Harvard campus, as disapproved by Harvard Divinity Professor Father Francis X. Clooney:

Annals of derp: Climate of hostility

This is me over the weekend dealing with an extraordinarily resolute climate change troll:

Devil's snare. Via harrypotter.wikia.com.
And pretty much downhill from there:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day



We lost my mom just over two years ago. This kind of music—progressive jazz that remembers it comes from the dance floor, and Ella—was her favorite, so I just thought I'd lay it out. I could add that she was about the best mother anybody could ever have, teaching us everything we need to know about food, politics, and love. She's still the audience of all my interior monologues—look, Ma!—but sometimes I miss her like hell, her answering voice.

Hop on Cop

Via Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Oh dear, NYPD, you're disappointing me. I was awfully pleased to hear last month about the disbanding of the so-called Demographics Unit sending plainclothes officers to spy undercover on the city's Muslim community, but now:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Jazz for cows


Watch it all the way through, it's only a couple of minutes. Trust me, however you feel at the moment you will feel better.

Parry and thrust

FDR found it helpful to negotiate with the lunatic Great Helmsman too. Image by Reuters via LatitudeNews.

I've been reading and rereading a remarkable piece by Robert Parry, who I think of as a kind of Seymour Hersh of the blogosphere, and I mean that in a good way, for his extraordinary stories of October surprises in the 1968 and 1980 elections suggesting that your worst fantasies of Nixon's and Reagan's dirty tricks are probably true—this post, though, is about Ukraine, and President Obama's behind-the-scenes struggles with his most implacable enemies, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

Well, maybe not exactly, but close: it really is about power issues inside the US foreign policy establishment and limits on presidential power, especially as applied in the [jump]

Friday, May 9, 2014

Safari so good

Urban Warrior collection from Sanabora Design House, Nairobi.
David Brooks starts out at a respectable pace with complaints (extracted from a famous 2005 Granta essay by Binyavanga Wainaina) about exoticism in writing on Africa from a hodgepodge of sources which appears to include the National Geographic vintage around 1965, Ethiopian famine porn, and appreciations of Disney's The Lion King, but quickly bogs down into the misapprehension that bare breasts and distended bellies are not OK only because Africa has changed since the 1990s and is no longer the exotic place it once was. (They were never OK.)

Hence Brooks's interest in the #BringBackOurGirls agitation against Boko Haram in the social media, to which he seems to take some kind of exception because [jump]

Cheap shots and ancient myths

Mousepad from Zazzle.
BENGHAZI!!! smoking gun

Via email from Foreign Policy, a report from Massimo Calabresi at Time magazine: the guilty party behind the Susan Rice talking points that wrongly suggested the incident at the US consulate in Benghazi was a mob infuriated by the Innocence of Muslims home video was—wait for it—Time magazine.

And other organs of our fearless journalistic establishment (such as Al Jazeera), which is why I remember being perfectly certain that it was the story myself. That's what [jump]

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Annals of derp: Comparing apples and Oregons

Paul Cézanne, ca. 1900, via WikiPaintings.
Hahahaha Megan McArdle Department:
Last May, researchers studying a randomized controlled trial of Oregon’s Medicaid expansion released a bombshell report that found no significant improvements in mortality rates or key health markers for blood pressure, hypertension and diabetes control. I did three major posts on it (one of which was a guest post from Jim Manzi...).
We'll decide what's major and what isn't, and how many of them you get to take credit for, thanks. Also too, they weren't studying the trial, they were performing the trial, or studying the expansion. Anyway,

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Odessa

Abandoned Odessa.
The invasion of Ukraine continues to be more like an exvasion, since the troops were mostly already there before it started, as they have been since many decades before Lenin decided there ought to be a country there, in 1921. The name Ukrayina/Україна isn't even a noun, you know, but a prepositional phrase, "on the border" between the Russian and Austrian empires, that started to be used in the 1840s when the [jump]

Projection?

Shorter Kevin D. Williamson, "Unnecessary Lies", National Review Online, May 6 2014:
OK, so we couldn't come up with any coherent reason why the Obama administration would have been conspiring to tell lies about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in September 2012. But that totally doesn't mean they weren't doing it! Like, maybe they were just keeping in practice.

Catch me if you can

Buster Keaton, College (1927). Images from WiffleGif.
Shorter David Brooks, "The Streamlined Life", New York Times, May 6 2014:
Big data! Annual surveys of the UCLA freshman class done since 1966 show that human nature has not changed but high school is easier than it used to be, students are more worried about the cost of college and the question of whether they'll ever get jobs or not, and they're reporting themselves as less empathetic. I was totally going to explain how this has nothing to do with 40 years of pulling back government funding from higher education and tax policy dividing the economy into the 95% living paycheck to paycheck and 5% rentiers but is rather caused by our spiritual decay but oops I just ran out of space.
Buster Keaton, I think from Cops (1922).

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cheap shot: Inventing Benghazi

At the "Groundswell" meeting of May 8 2013, where neo-Crusader Christian goblins Jerry Boykin and Frank Gaffney were helping to plot the creation of a "scandal" around the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Boykin reported, per Karoli:
And I think it's okay to share with you, wouldn't you say so Frank, that the Speaker was, I thought he was very coherent last night when we talked about this. And that he believes that the process needs to play out before we get a special committee...
Yes, when they caught Boehner being (apparently) coherent, they knew they must be onto something special.
Image from the People Of  Earth: Attention interview with John Boehner (July 2011), a work of transcendent genius.
Also check out Driftglass for the designation of the scandal as Whitewater 2.0, which pretty much says it all.

Cheap shots and graven images


Nobody but me

FreedomWorks obstetrician and wouldbe "servant-citizen" Greg Bannon, running in North Carolina's Republican Senate primary:

Sunday, May 4, 2014

TV criticism


I did not much like the fat-shaming (Christie), gay-shaming (Graham), and Botox-shaming (Pelosi) in Joel McHale's routine, or in general the lazy dependence on celebrity names (Biden, Kardashian) as a substitute for jokes that has largely taken over the whole field of standup in the last couple of decades (including of course Maureen Dowd's [jump]

Friday, May 2, 2014

David Brooks knows one thing, but it's not a very big thing

Love and Death, 1975.
Shorter David Brooks, "Love Story", New York Times, May 2 2014:
What can we learn from a story of passionate connection like that between Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin in their famous encounter of 1945, as told by Michael Ignatieff in his biography of Berlin? Mainly that you're better off if you went to the University of Chicago, at least the way it used to be back in the day when I was there—that way if you're ever in a situation like they were you'll be able to chat in a halfway intelligent way about Russian literature.

Cheap shots and sex-on-the-desk

Via Portland State College.
Forced by reality to admit that soon-to-be-former L.A. Clippers owner and all-round racist scumbag Donald Sterling is a Republican, conservatives have been somewhat at a loss, but Reihan Salam has thought of a brilliant ploy:
My basic point is that Sterling, a notorious slumlord, has profited enormously from the tendency of liberal cities in California to limit housing permits. These limits help constrain the supply of low-rent housing, which in turn forces low-income renters to spend a high (and rising) proportion of their incomes on rent.
See that? He ought to be a Democrat. Assuming that this crazy scenario is true and city governments constantly calling for affordable housing are actually working against it on purpose. The man's a natural liberal!

Except for the part about making his living squeezing rent out of poor people and regarding himself as a maker among takers, a job creator whose employees are helpless dependents:
V: Do you know that you have a whole team that's black, that plays for you?

Bad tweets

Well, no, I don't call that apartheid. I keep "apartheid" to refer to
a former social system in South Africa in which black people and people from other racial groups did not have the same political and economic rights as white people and were forced to live separately from white people
or more generally a social system in any country in which people of some racial groups do not have the same political and economic rights as those of one particular racial group and are forced to live separately from the last group, perhaps in some mockery of sovereignty in "Bantustans" surrounded by the troops of the dominant race who control their movements in and out of their villages to find work, to study, to obtain medical care, to visit their relatives and friends.

Not executing gay people is what I call "normal". I must say I would have problems with anybody who does execute gay people, or who wants to, as Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni used to do, though he had changed his mind by the time the photograph below was taken, opting instead for a more moderate anti-gay approach in which gay people would only be imprisoned, along with those who failed to report the homosexuality of others to the authorities. I wouldn't even like that, to tell the truth. Call me intolerant if you want.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in a 2011 meeting in Jerusalem on increasing cooperation between the two countries. Photo by Avi Ohayon, GPO.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mayday! Mayday!

Karusi, Burundi, May 1 2013
And a Happy International Labor Day from New York City, where our Second-International Center-Deviationist mayor Bill de Blasio is putting a wrap on negotiations (which had been stalled for FIVE YEARS under the Bloomberg administration) with the United Federation of Teachers, which will restore some of that retroactive 8% raise to put them on par with bus and subway workers, spread out over the nine years of the new contract;
The officials said the teachers’ union had agreed to significant savings on health coverage that would not be made with cuts in programs or offerings and would not require an increase in premiums paid by city workers.
They're to use fewer emergency room visits and more health clinics, apparently, which is a good thing (my family uses one of those and we like the way the network is really a network), and more "prescriptions by mail", meaning email? If this really saves the city billion dollars (for all municipal workers, not just teachers), wow.

Also, more and more research demonstrates that a raise in minimum wage has no net effect on unemployment (the job losses it causes are canceled out pretty exactly by the new jobs it creates, except everybody's at a higher standard of living). It's getting to be like climate change, denial is no longer quite respectable, in addition to being wrong.
Chicago, May 1 1886, from InfosDroits.