Saturday, June 28, 2008

It's lying to you right now

Your Brain Lies to You - The New York Times

Doing the opposite

Good post in TNR today by Noam Scheiber, who discusses the GOP's odds of survival. Specifically, he discusses the new book Grand New Party by Republican authors Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam. To cure what ails the party, Douthat and Salam recommend a turn toward what they call "Sam's Club Republicanism," which essentially is a mix of two parts social conservatism with a dollop of economic liberalism. It's a good idea, Scheiber says--and it will never happen. Why?
The people who fund and run the GOP are simply too committed to the idea of cutting taxes for affluent people and reducing government spending--basically the opposite of what Ross and Reihan propose. In fact, even saying the GOP establishment is "committed" to these things understates the grip of economic libertarianism over the party. It suggests a worldview that's the product of some reflection, when in fact the economic libertarianism of big GOP donors is mostly an expression of their self-interest--i.e., they want to keep their own taxes low. The idea that a party structured this way would embrace policies directly at odds with this mission is really tough to imagine. Which is why, for example, Mike Huckabee's candidacy was doomed the second he started attacking the "Wall Street-Washington axis."

Exactly. The GOP has turned greed and selfishness into a quasi-philosophy/religion from which no member may stray. How fitting that, in the end, it may be precisely their own hoggish sense of self-interest that becomes their undoing.

You can read the entire post here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Administration to science: "Na-na-na-I-am-not-list-en-ing"

White House Refused to Open Pollutants E-Mail - The New York Times

White House Tried to Silence EPA Proposal on Car Emissions - Washington Post

The conservative perspective here is so baffling. They oppose any proposal, any finding, any fact that might cost some business somewhere a degree of financial pain. As if widespread death and destruction are cost effective. (Note that I'm skipping right over the ethical issues here. For these folks, money and morals are mutually exclusive.) I don't know if it's a product of the financial laws that encourage such short-term thinking in American business, or if an excess of greed actually damages the human brain, but it's astonishing how consistently oblivious these people seem to any danger that dangles further than a foot or two over their expensively coiffed heads.

NCLB: education reform or ideological quackery? If you guessed "quackery," you've been doing your homework

Well, obviously Republicans weren't thinking of the children. As one teacher correctly observed, the people who designed No Child Left Behind "do not understand learning, teaching or human behavior."

Neuman Comes Clean on No Child Left Behind - The Huffington Post

A worthy cause

Proposed Bush Memorial May Become More than a Pipe Dream - PR Watch

Worth quoting in full:

The Presidential Memorial Commission [1] of San Francisco is engaged in an effort to rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant [2] the "George W. Bush [3] Sewage Plant." The group has been gathering signatures at local festivals, events and city parks and has already collected 8,500 signatures, about 1,300 more than is needed to put the question on the city's ballot in November. If the measure passes, the new name will become effective starting next January, when the new president is sworn in. Supporters plan to engage in a "synchronized flush" during the inauguration as a way to send a "gift" to the newly-renamed plant, saying they believe this will be a "fitting monument to this president's work." The chair of the San Francisco Republican Party [4] called the group's effort "loony bin direct democracy," and vowed to defeat it. A spokesman for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission [5], which owns the plant, says that while his agency understands the humorous intent of the endeavor, the award-winning facility has been efficient at keeping the streets and ocean clean, thus the plant should be "the last place" the group should use to make a negative statement about George Bush.

The Dems' victorious surrender

Hoyer Hails FISA Bill as "A Significant Victory for the Democratic Party" - Salon

LATE ADDITION: Five Myths About the New Wiretapping Law - Slate

The ideology is fake, but the catastrophe part is real

The Poverty of Reaganism-Bushism - Common Dreams

With energy, we have failed to meet the enemy and conclude that it is us

Oil Mania - TruthDig

Note to everyone: addiction is not a character flaw

It's Time To Get Rid of the Good-People-vs.-Bad-People View of Drug Use - AlterNet

What's wrong with that, Karl?

More Phony Myths - The New York Times

Monday, June 16, 2008

A nation of mules, part deux

The End of Summer Vacation - Slate

Now they have to test the chemicals they make baby bottles out of. Naturally, industry is outraged

Chemical Law Has Global Impact - Washington Post

Hey, we're a nation of laws again

Supreme Court restores habeas corpus, strikes down key part of Military Commissions Act - Salon

The Enemy Within - Slate

The same ugly flashback is just beginning

Full Metal McCain - Rolling Stone

When it comes to presidential politics, you either are or you aren't. And Barack Obama aren't. If you can't grasp the simple math of that statement, you don't know much about elections in this country. It's not about the war, or the economy, or the faltering Republican brand, or any of that: This is about hate and fear, and a dark instinct in our blood going all the way back to Salem, and whether or not a desperately ambitious ex-heretic named John McCain can whip up a big enough mob in time to drown the latest witch.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A different understanding of wealth

Compare and contrast....

--Your Liberal Media: "Not Rich" Edition - Ourfuture.org

--Consuming Passions - The Guardian

As Seabrook rightly notes, "The first task in achieving a decent security for all people on earth is to affirm the distinction between human nature and the nature of capitalism."

When the job breaks the bank

Rural U.S. Takes Worst Hit as Gas Tops $4 Average - The New York Times

Monday, June 2, 2008

The difference is, McCain's plan includes a joke

The Illusionist - The New Republic

McCain is following the pattern of not just Bush but every Republican president since Ronald Reagan. Phase One is to enact tax cuts and promise that they'll cause revenues to rise, or will cause revenues to fall (leading to spending cuts), or somehow both at once, so, either way, there's no possibility that it will lead to deficits. Phase Two is deficits. Phase Three is to blame the deficits on big-spending congressional fat cats and to issue increasingly strident threats to cut expenditures, without going so far as to identify actual programs to cut.


Yep.

Why not leave them behind?

Bad Apple Theory - Tom Paine

Here Sullivan underscores one of my own pet peeves: conservatives' frequent (though not universal) failure to follow their arguments through to their logical, appalling conclusions.

We're only free together

The Lost Art of Cooperation - The Wilson Quarterly

Sunday, June 1, 2008

He was wrong, clearly

Cult of Deception - The New York Times

Well said:

It turns out that our president is a one-man refutation of Malcolm Gladwell’s best seller “Blink,” about the value of trusting your gut.

Every gut instinct he had was wildly off the mark and hideously damaging to all concerned.

It seems that if you trust your gut without ever feeding your gut any facts or news or contrary opinions, if you keep your gut on a steady diet of grandiosity, ignorance, sycophants, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, those snap decisions can be ruinous.

The military-industrial complex in action

Indefensible Spending - LA Times