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What’s the worst last name ever?

[ 196 ] April 24, 2014 |

simpson

bart

Rules: At least three famous people must have the name, and bad (or tragically misunderstood) people with that name are balanced out by any good people with that name. Also, phonetics count, so Lenin is balanced by Lennon (John and Sisters), and Genghis is made up for by Madeline.

Potential candidate: Bundy

McGeorge: Started the Vietnam war.

Al: Started Married With Children

Ted: No comment necessary.

Cliven: See.

Imagine All the (Non-Rich) People, Eating Expired Baby Food After Obama Raised the Green Lantern

[ 67 ] April 24, 2014 |

Shorter Verbatim Fred Hiatt: “Imagine instead that Obama had embraced the bipartisanship of Simpson-Bowles and tried to steer through Congress a package that made the tax system fairer and solved the nation’s long-term debt problem.

He might have empowered Republicans in Congress — the Roy Blunts and Bob Corkers — who want to work with Democrats and get things done.”

The last line is particularly awesome. As always, I prefer to think of this as a parody of a parody being read by Jeffrey Tambor. Chait makes an obvious point about Pain Caucus Troofers:

Interestingly, the Tax Truthers don’t believe that “leadership” could persuade Republicans to change their position on, say, climate change, or abortion, or financial regulation. The conviction that Obama could talk Republicans into supporting policies they forcefully oppose is limited to the issue that they care about more than any other.

Tax Trutherism sustains itself among elite political and business circles through constant repetition by fellow believers, creating a cocoon, much like the Alex Jones listening audience, where the preposterous becomes mundane. Unfortunately, that cocoon includes large sections of the seat of government of the United States.

I mean, give the Green Lantern Troofers of the left this — they at least think the president could force Congress to do anything.

Norm Ornstein brings some historical perspective.

My Innocence Has Been Permanently Shattered

[ 77 ] April 24, 2014 |

You know, I said this would happen after baseball left Brooklyn and the only fans who have ever cared about a team ever. They didn’t believe me. But, first Barry Bonds broke…well, not “rules” exactly, but something even worse, records that should belong by birthright to boomer icons. The next step was inevitable — actual rule-breaking:

The pictures from Fenway Park Wednesday night were embarrassing for the New York Yankees: pitcher Michael Pineda with pine tar slathered on his neck and manager Joe Girardi, looking as irked and hapless as a man trying to untangle the Christmas lights, losing a wrestling match with a small remote-controlled camera. “Just a bump in the road,” was how Girardi, blinking into the camera lights, tried desperately to close the book on the poor judgment of the man now forever known as Michael Pine-tar. Try telling Tim Leary, Jay Howell or Joel Peralta how these notorious mound busts are nothing but bumps in the road. It’s easier to get a pine tar stain out of a polyester uniform than it is your career resume.

Heavens to besty! A baseball player breaking the rules to get an edge! Michael how could you!

The question now is how long Pineda should be suspended for. Precedent would seem to suggest 10 or 15 games. But remember — there is now photographic evidence that Pineda is guilty of multiple offenses. Clearly, this violation of MLB’s Equal Sovereign Integritude cannot stand; at a minimum, Pineda should get 162 games. During this period, he should be forced to rehab in a training program designed and supervised by Jesus Montero.

Fashions of the Future, 1893

[ 18 ] April 24, 2014 |

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The fashions of the 20th century, as imagined in 1893
.

More or less what Motley Crue was wearing on the Girls Girls Girls tour.

I know it’s wrong, but in my mind…

[ 12 ] April 24, 2014 |

…I hear Alice B. Toklas, as written by Gertrude Stein, saying this:

I don’t see where the ashes of a couple old lesbians is going to hurt anyone.

Affirmative Action and the Court

[ 16 ] April 24, 2014 |

I have more thoughts about the issues going forward. It seems clear that Sotomayor’s dissent was not just directed at this week’s relatively narrow holding but at the Court’s affirmative action jurisprudence in general. Which, it should always be remembered, is just as indefensible based on the constitutional standards conservatives allegedly adhere to as it is based on progressive ones.

The Schizophrenic Cruelty of Fat-Shaming

[ 345 ] April 24, 2014 |

This caught my attention today. I have nothing snarky to say here, just… reading it made me sad.

 

[PC]: A story I was told by one of the people I interviewed when researching The Obesity Myth:

Let me tell you a story — just one of many. One summer, when my twins were about three, they were in a little wading pool in my front yard, and I was sitting on my front porch steps watching them and enjoying the beautiful day. I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. A white pickup truck with several guys in it drove by. The truck circled the block, and on the second pass it slowed down and the man in the passenger seat hurled a bottle at me, shouting, “Go back inside where you belong, you fat fucking bitch!” The bottle shattered on the walk, sending glass flying everywhere. Fearing for my children I jumped up and grabbed them, rushing for the house. They were OK, but I cried for days thinking that someone was willing to endanger two babies just for the chance to humiliate me.

Anyone who is, or who has ever been fat has a heart full of stories: some dramatic, others less so, but all painful. Overheard comments, stares, the person who looks with a critical eye into your shopping basket as they pass you in the grocery store — it’s like dying from a thousand knife cuts. No one of them is fatal, but cumulatively, they tear your heart to shreds.

Chinese Water

[ 21 ] April 24, 2014 |

Hard to see the problem:

Beijing’s water authorities have defended their plan to ease the capital’s water shortage by processing seawater from the highly polluted Bohai Gulf, a mainland newspaper reported.

The capital’s municipal government has announced a project to build a desalination plan in Tangshan in Hebei province to process one million tonnes of water a day by 2019 to ease Beijing’s water crisis.

Wang Xiaoshui, the general manager of the project, told The Beijing News the plan was feasible and dismissed concerns the water would be undrinkable. The water will be treated to strip it of salt, heavy metals and bacteria and will be drinkable straight from the tap.

The plan has prompted public concerns because Bohai, the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea, has some of China’s most polluted waters.

I have said before that the greatest challenge both China and India face in continuing their rise as world powers is the ability to manage their environmental issues. I tend to believe China has a better chance of this than India, but sending polluted water to your capital for consumption does make me think twice. I suppose the Chinese could develop systems that truly make this drinkable, but somehow I’m skeptical.

Unpaid Internships

[ 45 ] April 24, 2014 |

Indeed, unpaid internships should be illegal. Stolen labor is never acceptable.

A True Republican Hero

[ 305 ] April 24, 2014 |

Wondering why conservatives are so inclined to admire lawless freeloader Cliven Bundy? Here’s another good reason:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
Continue reading the main story

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Nobody could have etc.

Chicken Plays Baseball

[ 13 ] April 23, 2014 |

Tonight’s Pathe film shows a psychological experiment from 1960 revolving around teaching a chicken to play baseball. Sound is lost.

Really, this chicken would be in the upper half of the players who have graced a Cubs uniform in the last century.

EATO?

[ 19 ] April 23, 2014 |

My latest at the Diplomat:

Is an Asian NATO possible?  Before answering that, we need to think about what we mean by “NATO.”  If we mean a military alliance designed to deter or repel a large regional aggressor, then some sort of agreement triggering military action under certain circumstances might be possible.  If we mean “NATO” as we have come to understand the activist collective security organization, then we have a long way to go.

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