Thursday, August 31, 2006

Daily Goods

  • Pandagon — hypocritical hiring/firing practices of the extremist wingnuts
  • Pandagon — smart-aleckness about inconsistencies of the strawfeminists the reichwingers are always pointing to, and arguing against
  • Pharyngula — sympathy & snark for PZ in his time of tribulation
  • At Jesus' General, I point out that some families just aren't deserving of a "flat daddy".
  • Keith Olbermann on Rumsfeld & freedom, via Crooks and Liars – definitely a must-see
    Here's some of the finer commentary out there on this today, not that there's any shortage of commentary on it.
    h/t poputonian @ Hullabaloo
  • My thoughts on The Rude Pundit's subtle distinction between cynicism and sarcasm reveal that I tend more towards the sarcastic than the cynical.
  • At Think Progress, Sen. Allen still thinks nobody "actually care[s]" about "macaca".
  • Remember, you heard it hear first! Kevin Drum quotes David Weigel quoting Kathryn Jean Lopez (a.k.a. J-Lo) quoting Congressional Quarterly (no link, guess we know who's the sloppy one in this crowd!) quoting Jack Reed from a conference call, on Bush's fondness of Islamofascism... I mean, the term "Islamofascism":
    And again, I think it goes to the point of that their first response is, you know, come up with a catchy slogan, and then they forget to do the hard work of digging into the facts and coming up with a strategy and resources that will counter the actual threats we face.
  • Glenn Greenwald talks about the overuse of the Neville Chamberlain–appeasement slur, which leads me to think we need another corrolary to Godwin's Law:
    As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Neville Chamberlain approaches one. Once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned Chamberlain has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Daily Goods

  • Pandagon — point out the inherent illogic of human interaction
  • Hullabaloo on sacrifices & trying to make sense of what Dubyah's saying
  • Kevin Drum on the VA system as a model to be emulated or sabotaged
  • Angry Bear about transfer pricing & Ireland

New "feature"

Starting today, I'm going to be doing daily posts when appropriate merely consisting of links to comments I've made on other blogs, and perhaps sometimes even to posts on other blogs where I haven't commented on. The main reason for this is to show a bit more of my thinking than my somewhat sporadic posting here reveals, and incidentally to give myself a handy reference wherein I can find those comments I've left elsewhere but forgotten just where. Secondarily, it's a way to indicate others' posts that I find interesting enough to comment on (although often, that interest is merely that it conjures up a "witty" joke that I just can't pass up, so quality is not assured).

In doing this, I'll be modifying my general rule of never editing a post without noting it (usually with "Update:", "Added:", or "Edit:"). These I'll be adding to over the day (or however long) as I make comments, or find interesting articles. This way, I won't fall into the Eschaton trap of posting a dozen or two one-sentence links to articles in one day. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's just not my style.

I'll start off with a few comments from the recent past, both for their own sake, and as example of the fairly standardized format I'll be using.

  • Pharyngula — me being a smart aleck about PZ's apparent 70s/80s/90s confusion
  • Pharyngula — me being a smart aleck about language evolution
  • Pharyngula — a warning of the dangers of watching Darwin's Deadly Legacy
  • Pharyngula — Finally getting away from the smart–aleckness, I suggest a blog meme I'd like to see start making the rounds; with followups here and here.
  • Jon Swift — a little snark about the fellow who claims that "science is dead."
  • Pandagon — I point out the word Amanda was looking for.
  • Pandagon — I point out the word Brooklyn Girl might have been looking for.
  • Pandagon — Trying to make sense of the new FDA Plan B rules
  • Pandagon — acknowledge the Dickensian qualities of Blackwell's health care proposal for Ohio, and then ask a little about Marx

A little bonus for today (I might make this semi-regular as well), my self-quoting of the day:

At least it isn't unrequited hatred. I hate that, even if it doesn't hate me back.

Added: Another note on my editing existing posts is that most browsers probably won't retrieve the updates when you first visit, until there's a new post. You may have to refresh after loading for newest content (like this very paragraph).

Overextended metaphor

Rush Limbaugh yesterday:

We didn’t teach them how to fish. We gave them the fish. We didn’t teach them how to slaughter the cow to get the butter. We gave them the butter. The real bloat here as we know is in government.

OK, aside from the obvious mangling of cliche in the third sentence, even the sentiment of the first sentence is overlooking the reality of it. Perhaps we are giving "'em" fish, but it seems to me nobody's willing to give them a fishing pole or bait, either. So teaching them to fish is pretty pointless.

Updated: Put in the exact transcript version of what was said, now that it's available.
Added: For that matter, he probably thinks it would be a bull you'd slaughter for butter, a la the Bushs' stallion-milking joke.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Some moron wrote:

What always puzzles me about Paul Krugman and his claims about inequality is why he doesn't seem to realize how silly he sounds when he refuses to acknowledge, and take some pride in the fact, that he is part of that top 1 percent. I find it hard to imagine that Paul Krugman's income in 2004 wasn't above $277,000, between his income from his university, his speaking engagements, his books, his columns, and his investments.

Now, does Paul Krugman think that he was just a tool of the "New Gilded Age" politicos? Does he owe his income gains to the people he despises, those nasty Republicans and that ridiculously centrist Clinton? I'd like to know. I suspect that if you asked him why his income grew to the point where he's in the top 1 percent, he would give some long answer, the shorter version of which is that he's "highly educated" and he's not lazy.

And the salient fact about this explanation is that it is accurate. Krugman's about as highly educated as you can get. He's got plenty of skills and occasionally (though not here) a good argument. People like what he does and he gets paid for it. Good for him. But good for Secretary Paulson as well, since Paul Krugman's own experience supports both parts of Paulson's assertion.

OK, then, what if you want to hear from someone well out of the top percentile? Here you go (let's say these happen to exactly match my own thoughts):

But he [Treasury Secretary Paulson] quickly reverted to form, falsely implying that rising inequality is mainly a story about rising wages for the highly educated. And he argued that nothing can be done about this trend, that “it is simply an economic reality, and it is neither fair nor useful to blame any political party.”

History suggests otherwise.

I’ve been studying the long-term history of inequality in the United States. And it’s hard to avoid the sense that it matters a lot which political party, or more accurately, which political ideology rules Washington.

Since the 1920’s there have been four eras of American inequality:

  • The Great Compression, 1929-1947: The birth of middle-class America. The real wages of production workers in manufacturing rose 67 percent, while the real income of the richest 1 percent of Americans actually fell 17 percent.
  • The Postwar Boom, 1947-1973: An era of widely shared growth. Real wages rose 81 percent, and the income of the richest 1 percent rose 38 percent.
  • Stagflation, 1973-1980: Everyone lost ground. Real wages fell 3 percent, and the income of the richest 1 percent fell 4 percent.
  • The New Gilded Age, 1980-?: Big gains at the very top, stagnation below. Between 1980 and 2004, real wages in manufacturing fell 1 percent, while the real income of the richest 1 percent — people with incomes of more than $277,000 in 2004 — rose 135 percent.

What’s noticeable is that except during stagflation, when virtually all Americans were hurt by a tenfold increase in oil prices, what happened in each era was what the dominant political tendency of that era wanted to happen.


So what the hell is your argument against that now? And if you actually have an argument against me saying that, why didn't you bring that to the gunfight along with your lame-ass ad hominem butter knife?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Say what?!?

OK, today's big news, the judge in Michigan ruled that the NSA's warrantless wiretapping is illegal. But one particular line jumped out at me here (emphasis added):

All of the above Congressional concessions to Executive need and to the exegencies of our present situation as a people, however, have been futile. The wiretapping program here in litigation has undisputedly been continued for at least five years, it has undisputedly been implemented without regard to FISA and of course the more stringent standards of Title III, and obviously in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Has this administration been using warrantless wiretaps before 9/11 even happened? If so, then two questions come immediately to mind: What was the justification for it at the time, and how useful do they seem to be if they couldn't stop any hypothetical people "determined to strike U.S." with the warrantless wiretaps?