Monthly Archives: March 2015

Jots with dots 3/31

Word of the week: Hegemony http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hegemony

Stylebook: This cast a pall over yesterday. http://bringmethenews.com/2015/03/30/video-shows-missing-u-of-m-student-entering-mississippi-river/ Figure, the police and press unwillingness to use the word ‘suicide’ might be explainable, as that’s ostensibly a judgment reserved for the coroner’s office, and they haven’t weighed in here. It is curious I think that ‘entering the river’ is the phrase used to avoid saying ‘leapt off the bridge’. I don’t know who is being protected, and if it’s that important they be protected…. It seems infantile. Tangentially related: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/03/30/the_uva_case_and_rape-hoax_denial_126087.html

I said that: http://nypost.com/2015/03/27/hillary-is-too-old-to-run/ Over 65 is too old, without many exceptions. The energy and appearance of engagement just seem lacking among all these older pols you see. I did hear Jerry Brown the other night, and there was nothing halting or elderly about his speech at all.

I agree with this seemingly counterintuitive notion: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/03/republicans_and_democrats_won_t_do_anything_to_fix_inequality_don_t_expect.html Ameliorating income inequality requires radical change in taxation policy. Ya know, the Pres. probably desires to have more progressive taxes but he can’t get that. But he’s not a poseur. Hillary Clinton’s insincerity is ocean’s deep however, and ya wonder if an institutional candidate like that doesn’t resurrect the Naderite wing, which has been acquiescent in the Obama years.

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Jots with dots 3/30

Chait stains: over the weekend, I absolutely recalled the non-deal of Reykjavik… http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/03/conservatives-hate-iran-deal-hate-all-deals.html which seemed to turn out fine. So from there, I make the dilettante observation that, hey no deal with Iran, no biggie, right? Chait’s larger point is that conservatives have been ideologically unable to find any deals acceptable, ever, and there seems to be a certain truth in that. So ya say, conservative recalcitrance on Iran can be discounted, and yet you look at Chait and the other liberal commentariat and it is startling the low regard any dealings with the Iranians merit. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/29/the-good-bad-and-ugly-of-the-iran-deal.html. Other thing is, the usual sycophant chorus is finding it hard to backtrack and find the counterintuitive wisdom on things like Yemen. http://www.vox.com/2015/3/30/8309797/obama-yemen-model I have dovish, isolationist impulses ya know, but at this point I do wonder if being the biggest bad ass on the planet wasn’t the proper wisdom http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/03/us-has-no-clean-battle-lines-middle-east

Is the country ready to elect a sexless nag as President? http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/27/opinion/david-brooks-the-field-is-flat.html?_r=0 What I see, is that the structural electoral advantage that supposedly exists for Democrats is actually a reflection of Obama’s quality as a candidate. If he’s not running, you got problems. And actually, I just think it’s seldom that a 45 or 50 year old loses to a 70 year old. But I said also, I actually have some doubts Hillary even gets the nomination.

97% consensus http://theweek.com/speedreads/546704/california-congresswoman-thinks-global-warming-turn-women-into-prostitutes You’re a denier and anti-science if you disagree.

Joe Loveland’s Frank Luntz watch / estate tax – recall, Joe has always thought it was terribly deceitful of Luntz calling a tax levied upon death a “death tax” http://www.wrywingpolitics.com/minimum-wage-indexing-dfl-political-marketing-at-its-worst/ Slate disagrees, thinks that’s plausible enough http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/03/27/the_estate_tax_here_s_how_to_make_americans_love_it.html but does come to a Lakoff type conclusion that the ‘messaging’ has been a bit wrong, particularly on incidence. Problem there is, Democrats would like an estate tax that hits a lot more people, so arguing that’s it’s OK because incidence is low doesn’t really argue for much…

Norman Ornstein will be hardest it here right, what with Democrats shown to be petty obstructionists. The link I want explains the fight over the Hyde amendment better, this one will have to suffice. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/03/loretta_lynch_confirmation_mitch_mcconnell_and_the_gop_have_delayed_it_but.html

We just rewatched the wire http://www.vox.com/2015/3/27/8299631/barack-obama-david-simon I’m with Simon. It’s a paradox ya figure how unenlightened Obama is as a progressive on the drug war.

jots with dots 3/27

Newsworthy: http://hotair.com/archives/2015/03/27/breaking-harry-reid-to-retire/ Fitting. I’ve used the word anachronism a few times this week. He’s an anachronism. Powerline likes to have some fun with the idea Reid’s eye thing was not an “accident”. http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/03/harry-reid-to-step-down-exercise-accident-not-to-blame.php Ya know those exercise springs superficially resemble those springs on a garage door, they are THAT big just about. I encountered a guy once who had a mishap with one of those garage springs he was working on, it almost took his head off.

Liberal outrage du jour: Indiana calling http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/pence-signs-gay-marriage-religious-freedom-bill Ya know the movie Footloose was set in Indiana? And it’s a cultural touchstone, that caricaturizes the social right, caricaturizes it even somewhat charitably at times…. Ya know, I’d like to be able to split the baby here. The fundies should get over some of their anachronistic biblically anchored sexual hangups. But yeah, there is ostensibly freedom of association, and you don’t want to see people prosecuted for exercising that. Hence the purpose of the law, but this law is obviously also one of these provocative bits of gamesmanship….

Gehar gehar gehar: http://www.vox.com/2015/3/26/8296531/stabenow-cotton-defund Yea, that’s a good one, such cleverness and seriousness there.

I agree with this seemingly counterintuitive notion: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121393/bowe-bergdahl-may-have-been-deserter-hes-no-coward Not a coward. But…. Ya know some people think there’s wisdom in doing the counterintuitive thing, they talk themselves into it… He shouldn’t have joined the army, he wasn’t suitable for it, and that was probably obvious to most. I don’t think he should be sent to prison. Discharge him and be done with it.

The trope is what, that vets can’t talk about their wars, they got it all bottled up. I’m sure that’s true to a point, but it helps to ask a sufficiently narrow question rather than ‘what was the war like’ and ‘did you kill anybody’. I know my dad’s story reasonably well, put the bits and pieces together over 40 years and committed it to memory. In light of Brian Williams, on St. Patrick’s day dinner with my family I was moved to ask my dad if he ever had a hard landing in a helicopter in 1966, or if he’d been out in the sticks and had to huddle around one overnight that’d been disabled. He said no, no actual chopper problems…. but what he said would happen…. And that they “did not like” [understatement] …. Is they’d be taken out in the morning by helicopter, walk around all day, walk through a village in the late afternoon and be instructed to do a weapons sweep… They’d do it and think it was clear or clean, then be walking back to the helicopter pickup spot about 5pm when VC guerillas or irregulars or whatever would materialize and start shooting at them. Musta happened more than once. Ironically, since that dinner I saw a very brief reference to Lt. William Calley, who with his village mass murders was consistently understood as deranged / psychotic in his way, right.. When did that happen… 1969 I see. Ya know, Calley was barbaric, for sure…. But I’d bet it’s also the mental dead end someone, somewhere in that theatre was to inevitably reach what with the anxiety and paranoia that had developed over those village encounters the first several years of the Vietnam war….. Then I asked my ma if it was really cool to go to a Big Ten school in the late 60’s. She said not as cool for her, as she lived at home. She did say during the 6 Day War the Jewish students would sing hava nagila in the union, and that it was electrifying. And she said after Kent State there was a student strike, and the administration did cancel the remainder of the semester, and you could take the grade you were getting at the time.

Jots with dots March 26

Israel week continues here….http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/24/opinion/david-brooks-how-to-fight-anti-semitism.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fdavid-brooks&_r=0 Brooks puts his finger on something I think apropos. Ya know I’m kind of obtuse and naïve right, in a way that can be a flattering attribute… or not.. and in a way that I thought was somewhat uniquely Minnesotan…. but it’s probably not, but then it’s somewhat flattering to America maybe. Thing is, I don’t think I knew that Jewishness was an ethnicity as well as a faith / culture until I was about 25…This despite, in the 70’s my parents were raising us in a house in Mac / Groveland in St. Paul, and there was a Jewish family across the street. Which was mentioned because the rest of the block was so uniformly Catholic. I think my mother’s response was merely ‘Jews don’t believe in Jesus’, which was wholly without value judgment and I think just an attempt to explain the distinction between monotheistic faiths to a child. And then, I’ve had Jewish relatives by marriage since the early 1980’s. But I still didn’t grasp much meaning of the distinction until well into my adulthood. It wasn’t covered meaningfully in my public school, and I actually didn’t grow up in a family where people were obsessed with ethnicities… our own Euro-Caucasian heritage such as it is a bit indistinct and blurry, we never glommed on to one and wore it on our sleeves. So… Brooks…. I’m led not to a dilettante observation about anti-Semitism…I think I can do better than that as kind of an anthropology / history guy. But to a dilettante observation about “Zionism” in a similar vein, so far as it concerns Americans, this after having a light bulb go off in my head while reading about West Bank settlement. See, I said before you can scarcely ever go wrong siding with Israel, its enemies being consistently loathsome. I still think that’s good advice in general. But I would imagine Americans with remedial understanding approve of “Zionism” so far as it merely stands for the existence of Israel. Which is a phenomenon as Brooks describes, of American’s being a bit detached from Jewish / Israeli issues in the world. And specifically here, not understanding the policy of settlement over those post-67 conquered lands as ‘Zionism’. Which does seem provocative when you give it the contemplation it requires….

Chait stains: I wanna say its fallacious the way the climate people go about branding contrarians as whores. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/03/why-is-a-liberal-professor-helping-coal.html Generally, I don’t think any of these big minds… lefties, righties… takes on the advocacy they do because people pay them. I think they advocate, institutions / entities see that, and they want to have those voices in their corner…and pay them to get more quality arguments. Chait gives Tribe more credit than that, but can’t help goading him about the size of his retainer.

Conservative outrage du jour: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/25/everything-the-white-house-told-you-about-bowe-bergdahl-was-wrong.html Me, I have a real tendency to mellow out about things. I look at it now like, ya know, the President thought it was meaningful engagement, and there’s wisdom in engagement. But the constant lying is grating.

Would seem to disqualify the narrative… http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/did-you-know-obama-just-took-new-executive-action-on-immigration/article/2562053

Jots with dots March 25

I’m sure everything he knows, he learned on SHS’ model UN team. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/denis-mcdonough-benjamin-netanyahu-israeli-occupation-116319.html#ixzz3VEuDO687 Kind of a big deal eh, him and his statement. Now he was 88, I was 87, and I don’t recall ever having a conversation with him, but I’d bet my house I was in the same room with him on multiple occasions. I have some awe where’s he’s at now. Now ya know, in town I think that bunch, the McDghs as a whole, were / are rightfully known as very bright, high achievers, and super cordial. Great people all around. And ya think, stands to reason, there are families like that, several in every town….supremely structured and organized, on the ball, affluent, devout… and America’s best and brightest have a way of coming from those environs. …I don’t have any sense the McDghs were like that, cept for the devout part. With the 11 kids in something like a throwback Irish households…. chaotic is what I understand is close to the right word, from people who know. I hope I’m not speaking out of turn… but.. oh yea, I only have 4 readers. Anywho, they’re neat, the two brothers I have encountered have a lot of personal grace.

D was fairly explicit with his statement in ways I haven’t heard from the American govt. IE, relinquish the west bank. And I can see the sense in that. It would be an enormous gesture, and Israel has the power to do it without a consequence to their safety, really. I do question the wisdom of ‘settlers’ to the west bank in the first place. And I don’t know when that happened, cept to say I guess since 1967. But in modernity here we think of property in terms of title, and the Israeli powers that be had to know how provocative it might be to allow “settlers” to traipse in and chart off land that ostensibly was titled to somebody or some entity….It’s a problem, so make it not a problem.

Ya know, the whole idea of “settlements” in the old world seems a bit anachronistic. Also, it’s a bit jarring to understand we’re talking about a land space that’s the size of the corridor from here to St. Cloud say. I was looking at the “land” such as it is. And in my mind’s eye I see sand, a few date palms, and some intermittent olive trees. But if anyone’s going to settle, down by Eliat seems to be the logical spot. It’s sort of out of the way and with some space available. And next to the sea. Put some people there, make it into a world class city.

They’re such musical people…. http://theweek.com/speedreads/546008/ted-cruz-911-converted-country-music I said this before, I continue to be astonished at the virtuoso guitar playing that goes on in mediocre country music…. But I’m not generally a country fan. It’s hokey. Bro-country is worse. I kinda like… Taylor Swift… who does seem to take her craft seriously. I’m so ashamed…

Liberal outrage dujour. https://www.yahoo.com/politics/wisconsin-gov-scott-walker-photo-charlie-114429739886.html I think this is the mundane expressed as the mendacious. Didn’t Dayton’s campaign run on the donations of one big benefactor? False equivalence? I like Menards. I bought a $29 Chinese sawzall there on Sat. I may regret that, that “Aristocrat” brand has sucked. But I don’t need one often.

I agree with this counterintuitive observation. Yea, if his money wasn’t impounded with the proper paperwork filed… http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2015/03/convicted_cop_killer_brian_fitch_would_like_his_3000_back.php Sorry, this stuff can’t be implicit or an afterthought.

Jots with dots March 24

Why not? http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/opinion/sunday/why-not-utopia.html I think it’s because the police state required to enforce utopianism negates the egalitarian utopian qualities of whatever you end up with. Quite the paradox. Ya know, righties have anxiety about society’s leftward drift while lefties pine for it…. I think the truth is, with the stable reproductive demographics of modernity here, the manpower required to enforce a tax code and sharing economy of the lefts dreams never materializes.

Related: I reject the premise: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/22/to-move-beyond-boom-and-bust-need-new-theory-capitalism Not being thoroughly academic about it, I just look at it like capitalism is the private title of the means of production and broad freedom to engage in commerce. But the subtext of this article and many like it since 2008 is that we need an economic method not subject to booms and busts. It’s not obvious to me why that’s a valid premise, capitalism is not disqualified by the presence / existence of booms and busts. Booms and busts, ie “cycles” exist outside of capitalism. Nor does it stand that “Lehman” or “AIG” are shorthand for capitalisms failure. You had a securitized market for mortgage notes, and it was grossly distorted by the government’s participation. Some people could discern this and bought bond insurance from … Lehman and AIG. . Hayekian knowledge thing, on both ends. Those securitized pools underperforming when people default is not a defect of capitalism. People buying bond insurance is not a defect of capitalism. Lehman and AIGs inability to pay during a deep downturn is not a defect of capitalism.

Government is just the things we do together and if you don’t like it you should just go live in Somalia chortle chortle…: http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2015/03/23/union-that-fought-sunday-beer-growler-sales-lifts-objection/ See, thing is I’m sure if this union didn’t have the power to torpedo Sunday growler sales, income inequality in this state would be that much worse…. Thing at the end catches my eye. What’s the purpose of a “barrel limit” that necessitates reporting that figure to some bureau to distinguish between large and small brewers?

I don’t know why I am not to believe this… http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/03/23/dont-believe-obamas-faux-outrage-at-netanyahu/

Jots with dots March 23

I don’t know that it compromises Rand so much as they think …. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/ted-cruzs-presidential-run-is-bad-news-for-rand-paul/article/2561868 1. We’re not assured Ted is all that libertarian-y 2. Rand is more appealing / Cruz carries a bit more baggage for being obnoxious. http://theweek.com/articles/545717/ted-cruz-protest-candidate-nobody-asking 3. Cruz is odd looking, has helmet hair of a sort. Not a handsome devil. Related: http://theweek.com/articles/545539/hey-libertarians-dont-give-rand-paul Do you ever really get the perfect candidate though?

I do have some sense this is a thing, just by what I hear on the radio. http://theweek.com/articles/545416/gop-war-over-defense-spending My view: the defense budget is pretty rich now, just by what I observe of the ecosystem as a whole through my relations in the services. Big support system for service members.

I agree with this seemingly counterintuitive observation http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121344/brookings-paper-fracking-benefits-consumers-billions-year

This is about as hyperbolic as anything Katherine Kersten wrote on the topic. Which is to say, it’s not. But it’s the type of story the Strib can’t do on their own turf because a chorus of too earnest by half local ethics in journalists types cry racism. Or ya know, worse, a chorus of wise ass journalist poseurs. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/world/middleeast/from-minneapolis-to-isis-an-americans-path-to-jihad.html?emc=edit_th_20150322&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=65767542&_r=1 Stylebook: I find the reference to “Somali elders” infantilizing, patronizing, and anachronistic.