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Worst American Birthdays, vol. 48

[ 0 ] April 3, 2009 |

One of few humans to become less coherent with the acquisition of language, the anthropological marvel known as “Camille Paglia” has spent most of the past six decades being paid by Salon to complain, in a carousel of mixed and incompatible metaphors, about the cruelty of a universe that would preside over the fellating of Bill Clinton — a crime against humanity for which his wife (and vaginas more broadly) are presumed to bear responsibility. When not overheard blaming the Clenis for 9/11 and the death of Vince Foster, Paglia can be found blaming feminists for nearly everything else — including the Virginia Tech massacre (no, really) — while heralding the rise of Sarah Palin as some sort of divine revelation, a Jungian archetype of the sort that fuels Paglia’s unreadable, self-parodying academic work. No, really:

Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism. At her startling debut on that day, she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist. In terms of redefining the persona for female authority and leadership, Palin has made the biggest step forward in feminism since Madonna channeled the dominatrix persona of high-glam Marlene Dietrich and rammed pro-sex, pro-beauty feminism down the throats of the prissy, victim-mongering, philistine feminist establishment.

Paglia — an over-employed, anthropomorphized prank upon the English language — turned 62 today.

Denialist Cherry-Picking

[ 0 ] April 2, 2009 |

Syndicated Columnist William F. George:

Reducing carbon emissions supposedly will reverse warming, which is allegedly occurring even though, according to statistics published by the World Meteorological Organization, there has not been a warmer year on record than 1998.


The story recounted some Americans’ misadventures with the new light bulbs that almost all Americans — all but those who are filling their closets with supplies of today’s incandescent bulbs — will have to use after the phaseout of today’s bulbs in 2014. (You missed that provision of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007?)

A San Francisco — naturally — couple emerged from Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” incandescent with desire to think globally and act locally, in their home. So they replaced their incandescent bulbs with the compact fluorescents that Congress says must soon be ubiquitous. “Instead of having a satisfying green moment, however,” the Times reported, “they wound up coping with a mess.”

San Francisco, hahahahahaha! Whew, it’s great that conservatives never run out of fresh material.

On the first substantive point, the “1998 is the hottest year on record” is meaningless cherry-picking that does nothing whatsoever so disprove the fact that there is a long-term warming trend. On the second point, the Times story that Will cites also…consists entirely of meaninglessly cherry-picked anecdotes. Obviously, without data about how often ordinary light bulbs fail these anecdotes are worth less than nothing. But for George Will and Fred Hiatt, that’s good enough!


[ 0 ] April 2, 2009 |

Shorter Similarly lengthed Glenn Reynolds: “The fact that the Dems seem poised to only narrowly win an overwhelmingly Republican district with an unknown politician proves that Obama has no coattails.”

And in addition to the other problems, Reynolds doesn’t seem to understand that concept of “coattails,” which presumes another election going on to draw voters — I know that this is an obscure point of election law, but Obama wasn’t actually on the ballot in this election. And, of course, when he was on the ballot he had coattails to the tune of +21 in the House and and +8 in the Senate. But, in fairness, this is probably as much about the public hating the Republican policies Reynolds has been relentlessly shilling for as much as anything…

The Supply-Side Paradox

[ 0 ] April 2, 2009 |

And, of course, if conservertarians actually believed this crap, they would presumably favor much higher marginal tax rates, all the better to shrink the government…

At any rate, McCarthy may want to stick with crackpot conspiracy theories about how Obama was actually born on Pluto so he’s not even constitutionally eligible to be president of the galaxy because it’s not even a planet anymore!111!!1!!!!1!!!1! and leave discussions of economics to grownups.

7. Defeat of any politician who cannot fend off bear attacks.

[ 0 ] April 2, 2009 |

“A Tea Party Manifesto” reads better if you imagine it being delivered in the voice of Dwight Schrute.

1. A moratorium on bailouts, whether for Wall Street bankers, General Motors, or the irresponsible guy down the street who “bought” too much house. “Failures must be allowed to fail.”

2. Repeal of all “Stimulus” spending for the years 2011 and beyond.

3. Repeal of all “Stimulus” pet projects in 2009-2010 with no stimulative effect.

4. Defeat of the Obama 2010 budget, with a new budget set at 2008 levels plus inflation. We’ve already spent too much money that we don’t have.

5. Defeat of any politician who voted for the February “Stimulus” bill.

6. Complete selloff and shutdown of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and an immediate ban on campaign contributions from both, as well as any other firm in Federal receivership.

The best part is when the poor fellow insists that each of these is a “clear, achievable goal.”

Armageddon and All That…

[ 0 ] April 1, 2009 |

I have some musings on the latest US-Russia spat at the Guardian:CIF. While doing a bit of “research” for the piece, I read the wiki entry on A Taste of Armageddon, the Star Trek episode where two planets have agreed to wage nuclear war without nuclear weapons. Kirk “saves” them from this by essentially breaking the mechanism, and forcing them to talk. I found it interesting that, in the expanded literature, one planet shortly thereafter annihilated the other, losing a third of its population in the process. We have the Prime Directive for a reason, people.

By the way, here’s “Mad” Matt Duss, in yet another of what seems to be an endless string of high profile media appearances:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

I Try To Look Amazed, But It’s An Act

[ 0 ] April 1, 2009 |

I regret all the times I called Pajamas Media a trainwreck, because the new model makes it look like Apple. And Atrios generously left out this sober discussion of economics from the Ayn Rand Institute, hosted by some guy who 1)I believe has achieved the highest smugness-to-humor ratio in history, and 2)says “god dang it.” I dunno what other broadcast-cop-show simulated swears he uses — I bailed out after a minute or so — but I look forward to the cutting-edge episode where he says that the Civil Rights Act really “frosts his cookies.”

And, yes, the idea is to get people to start paying for this stuff. Good luck with that!

Always the Gold Standard in Wingnuttery

[ 0 ] April 1, 2009 |

Shorter Erick Erickson: If laws requiring the use of environmentally safe dishwahser detergent aren’t a good reason to contemplate severe violence against government officials, I don’t know what is. In addition, these kinds of state regulations would never be allowed to happen if more power was left to the states.

Slouching Towards Talibanism

[ 0 ] April 1, 2009 |

Karzai seems to be backing a law containing a number of spectactularly egregious violations of women’s rights.

All Hail Good King John!

[ 0 ] April 1, 2009 |

When the confirmation that Calipari had taken the job broke on ESPN, a cheer went up from the restaurant crowd. You can’t really fight it. You can only embrace…

The Wanker Caucus

[ 0 ] March 31, 2009 |

Although given my particular hobbyhorses I might have preferred a little more emphasis on the structural issues with the Senate, in his defense Chait’s article really does a superb job of pointing out just how farcical the Very Serious Centrist Democrats are. Lots of good stuff, including Democratic collaboration with the ridiculous student loan subsidy, but I liked this most:

What’s maddening is not that Obama’s budget is a perfect document–though it does a better job of setting priorities than any presidential budget in at least the last 30 years–but that the deficit-reducing measures Democrats object to are the most sensible parts of the budget.

Take the farm payments Conrad endorses. It is virtually impossible to find an economist on the left, right, or center who defends agriculture subsidies, which are costly, distort the market, and hurt the Third World poor. Obama does not dare phase out crop subsidies. Instead, he modestly asks to save about $1 billion per year by eliminating payments to farmers who gross more than $500, 000 per year–the least justifiable slice of a totally unjustifiable program. Conrad the Deficit Hawk, joined by other farm-state senators (such as Nebraska’s Ben Nelson) and representatives, cannot abide it.

Or consider Obama’s plan to limit tax deductions for the rich. If your goal is to raise revenue without imposing pain on the middle class or unduly harming incentives, this is about the best way one can do it. (Because limiting deductions would not raise marginal tax rates, objections from conservative economists have been generally muted.) Democrats in both chambers have declared this proposal dead on arrival. But, if they want to reduce the deficit and fund health care reform, the money needs to come from somewhere.

And what’s amazing is that to Fred Hiatt et al. these clowns represent the ultimate in High Principle. And, come to think of it, they do reflect Fred Hiatt’s principles very well…

Our Awards Shows Are Just As Crappy As Your Award Shows!

[ 0 ] March 31, 2009 |

I see that fresh off a richly-deserved win in the coveted Worst Lyrics of 2008 competition (“You look so much cuter/With something in your mouth”) (although, actually, I might vote for the Rivers Cuomo one if I heard him sing it) Alberta’s shame Nickelback won several awards at the Canadian equivalent to the Grammies. I complain about the Oscars a lot, but music awards in both nations really do tend to be a different level of bad. At least the Junos have actually been worse (cf. 1999, 1995…) and usually somewhat better…