March 25, 2014
June 13, 2013
Ah, the liberty of the private sector....
February 14, 2013
November 06, 2012
September 03, 2012
It is with great sadness to report that on Saturday Mr. Thomason has lost his battle with testicular cancer. This tribute, by sportswriter Joe Posnanski, who like myself never had the privilege of meeting him, but who also enjoyed the clear prose he brought to the blogosphere, beautifully describes the loss that those who loved and admired Mr. Thomason feel today.
August 03, 2012
Best Springsteen commentary ever: And one in which the writer doesn't feel the need to point out the hackneyed use of the sexist term "baby" in every song...someone has noticed that the last twenty-five years haven't been all that great:
The musical decline of Bruce Springsteen has been obvious for decades. The sanctimony, the grandiosity, the utterly formulaic monumentality; the witlessness; the tiresome recycling of those anthemic figures, each time more preposterously distended; the disappearance of intimacy and the rejection of softness. And the sexlessness: Remnick adores Springsteen for his “flagrant exertion,” which he finds deeply sensual, comparing him to James Brown, but Brown’s shocking intensity, his gaudy stamina, his sea of sweat, was about, well, fucking, whereas Springsteen “wants his audience to leave the arena, as he commands them, ‘with your hands hurting, your feet hurting, your back hurting, your voice sore, and your sexual organs stimulated!’ ”, which is how you talk dirty at Whole Foods...
Nothing has damaged Springsteen’s once-magnificent music more than his decision to become a spokesman for America. He is Howard Zinn with a guitar. The wounded workers in his songs do not have the authenticity of acquaintance; they are pious hackneyed tropes, stereotypical class martyrs from Guthrie and Steinbeck. Springsteen’s sympathy is genuine, but his people are not. His 9/11 and recession songs are bloated editorials: “where’s the promise from sea to shining sea?” His anger that “the banker man grows fat” is too holy: “if I had a gun, I’d find the bastards and shoot ‘em on sight” is not a “liberal insistence.” I prefer Dodd-Frank. The drawl in his voice is a production value, the grit a mannerism. A few minutes with one of Johnny Cash’s last records and it is impossible to take Springsteen’s vernacular seriously.
June 28, 2012
May 09, 2012
February 21, 2012
November 28, 2011
I wonder when the term "working class" went from being a description of those who engage in manual labor for a paycheck, to a somewhat dispargaging term referring to educational underachieving. The use of the term "working class" to describe anyone who lacks a college degree seems rather arbitrary, and doesn't provide much in the way of analytical value, since it includes Bill Gates, Gwyneth Paltrow, the late Steve Jobs, and the Kardashian sisters as "working class," while expelling any autoworker with a degree from Wayne State from the ranks of the proletariat.
For decades, Democrats have suffered continuous and increasingly severe losses among white voters. But preparations by Democratic operatives for the 2012 election make it clear for the first time that the party will explicitly abandon the white working class.
All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.
It is instructive to trace the evolution of a political strategy based on securing this coalition in the writings and comments, over time, of such Democratic analysts as Stanley Greenberg and Ruy Teixeira. Both men were initially determined to win back the white working-class majority, but both currently advocate a revised Democratic alliance in which whites without college degrees are effectively replaced by well-educated socially liberal whites in alliance with the growing ranks of less affluent minority voters, especially Hispanics. [emphasis mine]
October 24, 2011
September 16, 2011
I suppose there's no point commenting on the faux-outrage about this story, but it is interesting (at least to me) that there seem to be people who are under the impression that it is a horrible, beastly thing for the government to have lost money on this sort of investment. Solyndra was involved a business that is typically high-risk, so any sort of investment was going to be iffy; the fact that it (and other businesses like it) went under isn't a surprise. The free market is inefficient when it comes to picking and choosing the sorts of new technologies that have a socially useful benefit in the future, since it's all about maximizing profits, right this minute. If the government was basing every decision on what to subsidy as a guaranteed profit center, it wouldn't be serving the public.
For emerging technologies, that's always the case: fifty years ago, similar investments by Big Gub'mint were made on new-fangled devices known as "computers," which were necessary because the free market hadn't really figured out a way to make a profit out of the gadgets. Later, the internet emerged out of similar risk-taking, unprofitable investments by the government. Society as a whole benefits when there is a tension between the free market and government, with the latter making the former more creative and less destructive.
August 21, 2011
UPDATE [9/16/11]: As it turned out, young Saadi had not been captured by the rebels, and as of this date, is reportedly exiled in the West African nation of Niger, a nation best-known for not providing Iraq with yellowcake uranium, contrary to an infamous set of forged documents.
August 11, 2011
Researchers plotted the timing of nearly 500 of those lion attacks against the phases of the moon. And they found that the odds of being devoured by a lion were highest on nights following the full moon—nights when the moon rises late, providing hours of darkness for lions to stage a strike.So says a recent study. Also something important to know: the global population of lions living in the wild has declined by nearly 95% in the past fifty years, before, during and after full moons. Thoughts?
And previous studies have found that the fatter the moon, the slimmer the lion. Probably because the bright nights make hunting harder. So lions are hungriest around the full moon, too—and more willing to pounce on two-legged prey, as soon as they're provided the cover of darkness.