February 20th, 2010


David Brooks: a warped vision of a past that never was.

David Brooks makes my face hurt. In his column he pines for the good-old common sense of oligarchy, using increased criticism as evidence of poor performance. Never once will it occur to him that more criticism might mean people are finally brave enough to speak out. Idiot.
One of the great achievements of modern times is that we have made society more fair.
I agree, but this work is hardly over.
Yet here’s the funny thing. As we’ve made our institutions more meritocratic, their public standing has plummeted.
This is the whole point of his essay. But, is it even true? People have always lacked trust in those who are in power-- I would argue that what we see today is more vocal, open criticism of powerful people and institutions. I would imagine that their actual standing in the minds of the general public has remained much the same-- it's just that my grand parents would never criticize, the justice system, for example, since they were well known for locking people up simply for being critical. Now there is more criticism of the justice system, but it is without a doubt, a more fair system that it was 40 years ago. Far from perfect, but better. There are many other examples like this one. Collapse )

He's dead, Jim.

This article announces the demise of Al Haig. Now that he has moved on to the underworld, I think it is appropriate to pray for all of those poor souls who will be with him. The temperature is likely to have gone up a few degrees since he arrived.

The Reagan era has left a lasting indentation on the American psyche. After George Sr. took over the White House, it was as if a great weight had been lifted from the shoulders of the nation. A breath of fresh air could be inhaled by all. While we remember Al Haig for being in control of the White House, we should also remember Reagan for trading arms for hostages.

What do you remember about the Reagan era?
  • paft

Okay, Okay, I've Become a Conservative. Now Undo These Restraining Straps...

…We were sitting at home with our oldest son. He’s just finishing medical school, and he revealed to us that he had a goal when he went to medical school. And we said, “well, what is it?” And he said his goal was to persuade one liberal to become a conservative. Pretty good goal! And so, as fate would have it, his roommate was a San Francisco liberal. I’m not making this up. This is absolutely true! And so this conservative kid from Minnesota worked powers of persuasion, day after day, week after week, in between exams, in between the years, and he has now been so successful that he texted me last night and he said, “Mom,” his roommate’s name “just emailed me a Pat Buchanan column out of Worldnet Daily. I’d say that’s a success! Michelle Bachmann at CPAC

Via Media Matters

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Health Care: Game On! (Thanks Anthem Blue Cross !)

That's the style Mr. President! Citing Anthem's recent rate hikes in California* (from as low as 25 percent to as high as 40 percent), the President is putting pressure on both Republicans and Democrats to get something done. As President Obama noted "...it is clear that the status quo, while good for the insurance industry, is bad for the American people. After a year of exhaustive debate, it is time to move forward on reform."

Extra dividend: Jonathan Chait is already noticing conservatives are starting to have a meltdown over the planned use of reconciliation to pass the bill. "You can imagine how this feels to conservatives. They've already run off the field, sprayed themselves with champagne and taunted the losing team's fans. And now the other team is saying the game is still on and they have a good chance to win. There may be nothing wrong at all with the process, but it's certainly going to feel like some kind of crime to the right-wing. The Democrats may not win, but I'm pretty sure they're going to try. The conservative freakout is going to be something to behold."

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