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Archive for February, 2012

Sweet Dreams

[ 14 ] February 29, 2012 |

A little French film from circa 1907 to help you have the most pleasant dreams this evening.

No nightmares at all to be had tonight. Nope. None.


The Tea Party’s New Favorite Jurist

[ 64 ] February 29, 2012 |

This George W. Bush nominee to the District Court seems to be using the Carl Paladino defense for his racist email:

The judge acknowledged that the content of the email was racist, but said he does not consider himself racist. He said the email was intended to be a private communication.

How racist emails become less racist if they were intended to remain private remains unexplained; I think this judge went to the Non-sequitur School of Law. I suppose it goes without saying that he follows this up with an “I’m sorry if you were offended” non-apology.


…this is another gem:

“The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan,” Cebull said. “I didn’t send it as racist, although that’s what it is. I sent it out because it’s anti-Obama.”

Oh, well then.

Paging David Horowitz!

[ 39 ] February 29, 2012 |

Rick Santorum was a victim of liberal persecution, receiving lower grades than he surely deserved because of his political views.

Who can doubt it? Why, his American history professor probably didn’t give him full credit for his answer to the question of why the United States won the Revolutionary War, i.e. “because George Washington was a dumbshit.” And I bet Berube won’t even tell you about the Boston book party…

Maybe He Is the De Facto Leader of the Republican Party

[ 7 ] February 29, 2012 |

And it’s misogyny all the way down.

Foreign Entanglements: Foreign Policy and the 2012 Election

[ 3 ] February 29, 2012 |

Justin Logan of Cato and I discuss foreign policy and the 2012 election in the latest installment of Foreign Entanglements:

I would hate to die on Leap Day

[ 109 ] February 29, 2012 |

Needless to say the creation of the Monkees — a completely artificial pop music group invented for the purposes of television, in the crassest possible attempt to cash in on Beatlemania — represented everything that was and is wrong with whatever the American version of Tin Pan Alley is called (Edit: oddly enough it’s called Tin Pan Alley Based on my knowledge of Kinks and Who records I assumed the original was in London).

But, much like the Hollywood Studio system, if enough talented people end up being involved in the creation of something, it’s almost impossible to avoid producing something worthwhile, despite everyone’s best efforts.

Won’t Someone Think of the Benetton-Clad Children?

[ 78 ] February 29, 2012 |

McArdle outdoes herself in a column entitled (and I swear this is not a parody unless someone hacked the Atlantic site) “Are the Rich Completely Undeserving of Sympathy?

Um, yes.

McArdle speaks for those silenced by the leftist conspiracy–rich people with declining Wall Street bonuses who might have to move out of their 5 million dollar house.

I believe that Elizabeth Warren has made this point–when people get into financial trouble, they often say, “Well, I didn’t take fancy vacations or go to restaurants all the time or buy 17 pairs of Jimmy Choos.” But (with the exception of some really compulsive spenders) this isn’t the stuff that gets people into trouble. It’s the big house with the stretch mortgage that you convinced yourself you had to have because it was in a good school district and you needed a yard and a bedroom apiece for the kids. It’s that brand new SUV (or Volvo station wagon) you persuaded yourself to buy because it was important to have a safe car. It’s the school activities or travel sports teams that cost thousands of dollars, which you let your kids start in ninth grade because you didn’t know that you’d have to break their hearts by pulling them out in their junior year. The divorce decree you signed because you didn’t realize your income was going to drop by a third.

It now seems clear to me that the truly oppressed and misunderstood in this country are living in Greenwich, Connecticut. If my parents hadn’t spent $5000 for every season I played youth soccer, I would be smoking crack right now. Won’t somebody think about the Benetton-clad children???!!???

Would Santorum Approve?

[ 31 ] February 29, 2012 |

I’m not so sure Santorum would approve of this sex kit for church-going Polish Catholics:

The dice recommends where partners should caress or kiss each other, if they have run out of ideas in their long marriages. (Hands, as scandalous as that is, is one of the recommendations.)

Customers can buy the dice separately, or in a “romantic evening package” that comes with raunchy underwear, massage oil and a book called “Theology of the body – blessed by John Paul II.”

Bringing the pope into the bedroom is extra sexy.

I am also fascinated by Father Ksawery Knotz and his preachings on oral sex and Catholic doctrine:

Caressing the external genitals with your lips or tongue as an element of foreplay is morally acceptable and we must not perceive it as a sin…The Church preaching would contradict itself claiming that some parts of a beloved person’s body, such as mouth, breasts, thighs, buttocks, can be caressed and kissed, while others, such as genitals, cannot be kissed, caressed or touched.

There you have it. Having spent the first half of 2011 being schooled in Catholic sexual theology, I find this kind of thing so incredibly weird.

I would pay to have a reporter ask Santorum if he approved of Catholic teachings on oral sex.

The Bottom Line

[ 49 ] February 29, 2012 |

Mitt Romney, the luckiest man on the face of the earth:

Rick Santorum is the latest Romney opponent who has failed in almost every way a candidate can fail. He has raised little money, put together no organization or even much of a campaign staff, and seemed to melt in Romney’s presence at debates. Incredibly, Santorum allowed Romney to frame the debate as centering on Santorum’s deviations from conservative orthodoxy. He is neither an inspirational grassroots firebrand nor a respected insider. He combines the nuttiness of a Michelle Bachmann with the inspiration of Buddy Roemer.

And, yet, he very nearly knocked off the prohibitive frontrunner in his quasi-home state. These Republican primaries nobody should logically be able to win are strange, but you only need to be a good candidate in relative terms, and in the land where everyone is blind the rich guy will win.

Meanwhile, I hate to spoil anyone’s fun, but when the frontrunner expands his delegate lead the odds of a brokered convention are not, in fact, increasing. And Trende’s analysis doesn’t actually make that case; he establishes that Mittens will lose more states than someone in his position should but does not credibly present a scenario where Santorum and Newt can hold him to a plurality. For example, buried at the end, “When you consider that a lot of the New England and Pacific states are winner-take-all (or some variant of that), while the Southern and Midwestern states are proportional, Romney’s path becomes clearer.” Well, yes. And it’s not as if Romney’s massive financial and organizational advantages are going to get less important as the race proceeds.

Scenes from the class struggle in Hyde Park and Westwood

[ 2 ] February 29, 2012 |


A particularly interesting section of Brian Tamanaha’s forthcoming book details the many ways in which less well-off law students end up subsidizing the education and eventually the careers of their better-off classmates. This is a function of the many ways the current structure of legal education in America reinforces and indeed intensifies class stratification. Consider: Read more…


[ 7 ] February 29, 2012 |

This week’s WPR column is about wargaming and simulation, with a focus on last week’s Patterson School crisis sim:

War games have played a role in operational and strategic training for a very long time. The purpose of a war game is twofold. On the one hand, it produces data on a proposed course of action, with the quality of data dependent on the expertise of the players and the verisimilitude of the simulation. War gaming may reveal, for instance, that an invasion or offensive makes little sense given the options and resources available to both sides. On the other hand, war gaming provides training in strategic and operational thought under relatively safe and controlled conditions. A war game cannot replace the tension of battle or the responsibility of genuine decision-making, but it can help remedy certain kinds of common errors. Consequently, war games have been part of military training since at least the Napoleonic Wars. In a recent Naval War College Review article, Peter Perla and Ed McGrady argued that the power of war games stem from their association with narrative and storytelling. In a good war game, victory, defeat, gain and loss carry psychological weight that gives the players a stake in outcomes and makes their decision-making more realistic.

What goes for war goes for policy other than war. Public and foreign policy programs have increasingly used simulations as training and teaching tools. Policy initiatives, whether foreign or domestic, generate strategic dynamics; players respond to how other players have changed the game environment. Consequently, playing games can help students develop expertise regarding how to manage strategic dynamics, as well as more specific skills such as crisis negotiation.

Still Coming Up Mittens

[ 65 ] February 29, 2012 |

Obviously, I’m not changing my mind about the direction of the race after a Romney sweep.

Michigan does make me understand why some people are stubborn about seeing a race here; I was skeptical of Romney for too long myself.   Given the mismatch of resources, it’s not an impressive win.   But the fundamental truth is that you can’t beat even a weak candidate with nothing, and Romney is lucky enough to be facing only marginally less maladroit (Santorum) or actively worse (Newt) candidates who also can’t touch his financial and organizational resources.   Santorum and even Newt might get some wins on Super Tuesday, but it will just be delaying the, er, inevitable.

It will be refreshing to have a Republican candidate proposing to help out ordinary Americans by abolishing taxes on multimillion dollar inheritances.

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