Penn has been tagged as the egocentric villain of the campaign who sowed seeds of dissent in the Team of Rivals. [Ugh, STOP THAT. Not every group of mediocrities and much-less-than mediocrities that fights a lot is Linclon's cabinet. --ed.] One campaign staffer recalled Penn exiting his office, extracting all of the pens from a colleague’s mug, returning to his office and closing the door.
The vast majority of the former Clinton aides — many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of upsetting the powerful Clintons — believed that it was impossible for Penn to rejoin an eventual campaign.
“If you are the losing team,” Penn said, “you get blamed. Hillary told me, ‘It comes with the territory.’ ” He said that he and the candidate had a “thorough post-discussion of everything” but wouldn’t divulge specifics. He admitted, though, “You are always a little bit haunted when something is lost.”
Yes, maybe Penn is just being blamed because he happened, through no fault of his own, to be part of the losing team that by coincidence was the prohibitive favorite at the start of the race. Or because, say, of errors like failing to understand how delegates are allocated. Who can say, really? But even leaving aside the many concrete blunders of Penn’s Campaign to Insult America’s Intelligence, this brings us to the paradox of the consultant racket. You can wash your hand of responsibility of the results — plausible in a presidential campaign (as the fact that you can win a presidential election with the “help” of both Penn and Dick Morris makes clear), much less so in a competitive primary — but if this is true it’s far from clear why your services are worth millions of dollars.
I have to say, however, that it makes sense that the next institution that agreed to sign Mark Penn’s paychecks also came up with Windows 8.
Today, a one day strike is taking place among non-union, low-paid government workers, some of the nearly 2 million government workers making less than $12 an hour, which I think is an absurdly low wage for a federal employee or someone employed by a government contractor. They are demanding that President Obama do something to improve their plight. I also thought this paragraph about the federal government’s use of contractors who violate labor law interesting:
In September 2010, the Government Accountability Office issued a report concluding that the government had paid $6 billion in fiscal year 2009 federal contracts to contractors who had been cited for violations of federal labor laws. Seven months earlier, the New York Times reported that the Obama Administration was planning to issue a “High Road Procurement Policy” that could “disqualify more companies with labor, environmental or other violations and give an edge to companies that offer better levels of pay, health coverage, pensions and other benefits” in securing federal contracts. But such a move never came to pass; the following year, Obama OMB appointee Heather Higginbottom said in her confirmation hearing that it was not currently under consideration (an administration official told Government Executive afterwards that OMB was “considering the views of Congress, the private sector, and others with respect to possible initiatives and no decision has been made”). Labor and LGBT activists have also called for the Administration to use executive action to bar federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers; Obama so far has not done so.
These are the kinds of things where a president can make a difference outside the congressional approval process. It would be nice to see the president take these claims seriously and improve the labor standards of federal contractors. Given how little President Obama has given organized labor for all it has done for him, this would be a worthy repayment as well.
I suspect that Mr Richwine may have been able to survive either controversy taken in isolation. Had he not just argued, in an extremely tendentious fashion, that Hispanic immigrants are, on the whole, parasites, he might have endured public criticism of his dissertation. Had he not in his dissertation argued that Hispanic immigration ought to be limited on grounds of inferior Hispanic intelligence, he would have endured the firestorm over the risible Heritage immigration study, as Mr Rector did. Taken together, however, these two works produce a strong impression of hostility to Hispanics—they’re parasitical because they’re a bit dim as a breed, you see—which would be very hard to dispel. It’s easy to see why Heritage let Mr Richwine dangle.
Nevertheless, Mr VerBruggen, sees “a shocking unwillingness on the part of Heritage to stand up to bullying and protect the academic freedom of its researchers”. Michelle Malkin says that Mr Richwine was “strung up by the p.c. lynch mob for the crime of unflinching social science research”, which she finds “chilling, sickening and suicidal”. This sort of indignation speaks more to the right’s failure to take seriously the history and reality of American racial injustice than it does to Mr Richwine’s fate. As long as conservatives are inclined to think that Mr Richwine was “bullied” and “lynched” for his brave empiricism, instead of having been sunk by the repugnant prejudice exposed by the shoddiness of his work, non-white voters will continue to flock to a party less enthusiastically receptive to the possibility of their inferiority.
I would suggest that, as a rule, if you find yourself using the term “lynching” to describe “people who resign from wingnut welfare sinecures,” you should probably avoid ever writing about race ever.
The soldiers who landed in Normandy on D-Day were greeted as liberators, but by the time American G.I.’s were headed back home in late 1945, many French citizens viewed them in a very different light.
In the port city of Le Havre, the mayor was bombarded with letters from angry residents complaining about drunkenness, jeep accidents, sexual assault — “a regime of terror,” as one put it, “imposed by bandits in uniform.”
This isn’t the “greatest generation” as it has come to be depicted in popular histories. But in “What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American G.I. in World War II France,” the historian Mary Louise Roberts draws on French archives, American military records, wartime propaganda and other sources to advance a provocative argument: The liberation of France was “sold” to soldiers not as a battle for freedom but as an erotic adventure among oversexed Frenchwomen, stirring up a “tsunami of male lust” that a battered and mistrustful population often saw as a second assault on its sovereignty and dignity.
On the ground, however, the grateful kisses captured by photojournalists gave way to something less picturesque. In the National Archives in College Park, Md., Ms. Roberts found evidence — including one blurry, curling snapshot — supporting long-circulating colorful anecdotes about the Blue and Gray Corral, a brothel set up near the village of St. Renan in September 1944 by Maj. Gen. Charles H. Gerhardt, commander of the infantry division that landed at Omaha Beach, partly to counter a wave of rape accusations against G.I.’s. (It was shut down after a mere five hours.)
In France, Ms. Roberts also found a desperate letter from the mayor of Le Havre in August 1945 urging American commanders to set up brothels outside the city, to halt the “scenes contrary to decency” that overran the streets, day and night. They refused, partly, Ms. Roberts argues, out of concern that condoning prostitution would look bad to “American mothers and sweethearts,” as one soldier put it.
Keeping G.I. sex hidden from the home front, she writes, ensured that it would be on full public view in France: a “two-sided attitude,” she said, that is reflected in the current military sexual abuse crisis.
I wanted to alert LGM readers about an exciting real estate opportunity. You can buy property in a Manhattan high rise for as little as $158,000! Of course, that’s for the wine cellar. A three bedroom apartment will run you about nine grand a month…after you’ve paid $32 million for the property.
Fortunately, you can purchase a maid’s quarters for as little as $1.5 million. Start saving today!
Roy reports on the scandal that is even worse than the Benghazi failed Arkansas drug running land deal scandal: something about an umbrella. There are many crazy responses documented, but the source of the very funniest is, in retrospect, not entirely surprising:
We must clear some extra space for Ann Althouse’s four (!) posts about the umbrella. First Althouse was “seeing something tragic” in the umbrella scandal: “The old ways — that made us love him — don’t work anymore,” she sighed. “The gentle, slow-talking, stalling with ‘uhs’ for Woody Allen-like timing… We see the rain failing on his dark suit, and maybe we think about how, yes, that’s the White House in back of him and he does have his closets in there, full of suits… empty suits… skeletons in the uh uh uh…” After a good deal of this, Althouse challenged a Washington Post story that said conservatives were irked by the umbrella: “who were these ‘irked conservatives’?” she demanded. “WaPo only cites an email from the conservative Move America Forward PAC…”
Althouse later posted on Nabokov’s objections to Freud, asking “What would Freud have said about Obama’s endless uh-ing?” Later still she told us, “The word ‘umbrella’ appears exactly once in Obama’s ‘Dreams From My Father’… Now, I’m astounded to see that the umbrella figures importantly in the book — and it is even an umbrella held over him by another man… it is at the moment when he finds out who he really is that another man suddenly appears and is sheltering him with an umbrella… Flash forward, and he’s President. He is in the Rose Garden. It starts to rain. No man suddenly appears with an umbrella. He is getting wet and he is President — with plenty of airplanes and rifles and all of the world’s greatest military at hand — but he is still getting wet…”
She also discussed the phallic symbolism of umbrellas. You can read the rest at the links, or just wait for the audiobook version. (Throughout, Althouse’s commenters reacted in their by-now expected way, e.g., “That baboon isn’t fit to shine the Marine’s boots.”)
If the Wall Street Journal is ever in the market for a conservative hack for people who find Peggy Noonan a little too substantive and coherent, they always have somewhere to go. I do regret, however, that Althouse failed to emphasize the new evidence that Dreams From My Father was written by the Weather Underground.
I checked, and re-checked, and triple-checked, and I can confirm that it’s not 1979 anymore.
Now, that shouldn’t be too surprising — I’m not writing this on an Apple II, after all — but it is to a generation of men (and yes, they are all men) who think stagflation is always and everywhere a looming phenomenon. No matter how low inflation goes, they see portents of Weimar. But that neverending 70s show isn’t just a phobia of rising prices. It’s the idea that the solution to economic pain is more pain. In other words, Volcker-worship.
But only in this sense. Austerians believe, sincerely, that their path is the quicker one to prosperity in the longer run. This doesn’t mean that they have forgotten the lessons of Keynes and the Great Depression. It means that they remember the lessons of Paul Volcker and the Great Stagflation of the late 1970s. “Stimulus” is strong medicine—an addictive drug—and you don’t give the patient more than you absolutely have to.
You might think the fact that inflation remains very low might give Kinsley pause, but apparently not. You might also think the fact that the invocation of the 70s makes no sense even on its own terms might also undermine the argument. Except, again, that logic and history don’t really have anything to do with it — it’s an excuse, like pretending to believe that Saddam Hussein was a threat comparable to Hitler to advocate a war you’ve wanted for other reasons anyway. It’s just overclass moral panic, identical to Kinsley’s silly arguments about Chris Christie. Other people have to suffer to pay for some perceived sins; that’s the whole argument. And you can bet that if it was Kinsley being asked to make sacrifices he’d start recognizing the errors in his own arguments very quickly. The drug analogy is perfect, although not in the way Kinsley intends; a similar logic is used to justify a war on drugs whose immense costs and gross inequities can’t be rationally defended, but persist in large measure because there are sinners and someone has to pay. As the manager said in Wall Street, “it ain’t going to be me.”