Sunday, August 30, 2009

posted without comment

The tragedy of American politics is that people who are shat upon too often aspire to get to a position where they can shit shit on others. People whose grandparents were called “micks” and “wops” are all too happy to call today’s immigrants “wetbacks”, people whose grandparents were poor white tenant farmers are all too happy to look down on people whose grandparents were poor black tenant farmers.
-DougJ at Balloon Juice

Saturday, August 29, 2009

posted without comment

[Y]ou’re not considered serious on national security unless you bought the case for invading Iraq, even though the skeptics were completely right; you’re not considered a serious political commentator unless you dismissed all the things those reflexive anti-Bushists were saying, even though they all turn out to have been true; and you’re not considered serious about economic policy unless you dismissed warnings about a housing bubble and waved off worries about future crises.
Paul Krugman

posted without comment

Embedding the rendition and detainee program with Brennan in the White House would not have occurred to Terry Gilliam even with ether and a Samoan attorney.
-stiftung leo strauss

Friday, August 21, 2009

posted without comment

[...] your conviction that it just can't be so is not evidence that it isn't so.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

random thoughts

it's not that people are dumb. some people are, dumb as a sack of hammers, in fact, but as long as they mean well they usually manage to get through life without hurting anybody too badly.

but people in general are not dumb. they understand basic rationality and the operations of logic and consequence. they might willfully avert their gaze and shut their hears to some things, but the basic machinery of thought and understanding are sound.

the problem is, is capitalism, in its endless obsession over the bottom line, operates at the lowest common denominator. and so, because some people are, in fact, dumb as a sack of hammers, then everybody has to get talked to like they are, and our public debate devolves into the sort of ridiculousness that happened at the health care town halls. that people on medicare would decry socialized medicine is beyond farce. you couldn't make this shit up.

then again, now that i think about it. maybe people are dumb. either way, i'm sure about one thing. when you let the loudest people dominate the debate, the ones who think that that's what debate is, a shouting match in which the winner is decided by volume rather than by who has the best arguments that most match up to the facts, what you get in the end is the worst possible outcome: a milquetoast middle ground that includes none of the good ideas of either party, but displeases both enough that they are satisfied that they gave it to the other guy as good as they got. which is great, if you're a football team, but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter who made the highlight reel on sports center, but it matters very much whether or not, say, there is a public option for health insurance, which does all kinds of good things, and, with any luck, will do exactly as its most dedicated opponents fear: provide a benchmark of fairness against which a sector of the market that has no natural profit limitations will have to compete, which'll help economize the system, leading to better outcomes for all, except for the small coterie who presently derive outrageously outsized compensation and profits from the system's present arrangement.