Jorge Rafael Videla, former dictator of Argentina, is dead, much to the benefit of the world.
This thread was a classic illustration of what generally happens when people discuss craft beers on the intertubes. For obvious reasons, nobody wanted to defend the actual argument being made by the article under discussion — i.e. “Craft breweries should avoid making their best-selling beers because Tom Freidman’s apocryphal
cab driver craft beer fanatic found a mild 30 IBU saison ‘too hoppy.’” So, instead, we got reiterations of some banal points, most notably the indisputable point that hoppier does not always equal better. And, yes, yes, there are some craft brewers that add excessive hops as a botched gimmick, proving that IPAs can be screwed up just like any other style. And I suppose there are beer snobs who look down on people who don’t primarily drink very hop-forward IPAs; I’ve never personally met a beer snob who looks contemptuously when someone orders a porter or trippel, but, hell, it’s a big country, I’m sure they exist somewhere. And…so what? I turn things over to djw:
What he meant, of course, was “I don’t like ESBs”. It’s true of even the most ecumenical beer drinkers with wide-ranging taste that there’s some style they don’t like. Myself, I don’t care for Hefeweizens. But unlike this silly article, I’m careful to recognize that drawing broad conclusions about the appropriate direction for an entire industry from my own tastes is probably not a good idea.
There’s something weird about the way people who don’t care for hop-forward beers to infer all manner of strange things from this. People who don’t like wheat beers, or stouts, or hefeweizens, or whatever, generally avoid drinking them and call it good, whereas people who don’t care for hop-forward styles are rarely content with such a simple, straightforward approach. The “bigger is better” accusation is particularly absurd. Like most fans of the Imperial IPA style, I find some 100+ IBU hop-bombs sublimely well balanced, and others a one-note throat punch of a beer. I wouldn’t expect people who don’t care for hop-forward flavor profiles to be able to tell the difference, for the same reason I’m not good at distinguishing between a mediocre hefeweizen and an excellent one. But, crucially, I don’t deny that such a distinction is impossible to make about hefeweizens.
I’ve never understood what problem such arguments are supposed to be addressing. There are vastly more good beers available in all styles than there were 10, let alone 20, years ago. The preference that some beer snobs have for IPAs hasn’t diminished the availability of other styles of beers. So what are people kicking about? For people who don’t like pilsners to repent and admit their false consciousness? I don’t get it.
Speaking of excellent craft brews, I don’t know how often they put them on, but if you ever have a chance to attend one of these Dogfish Head nights, they’re strongly recommended. In a musical theme, I was able to try both the Bitches Brew and the Hellhound on my Ale (the latter of which I had never tried in a bottle), both of which are superb. Of what I was able to sample from the rest of the table, the Burton Baton was especially fine. (I was tempted to try Dogfish’s barleywine, but had too much work to do this weekend.)
And, finally, I would like to present the following exhaustive list of circumstances under which a pub that doesn’t have dancing should play recorded music at volumes high enough to drown out any conversation:
None. There are no such circumstances.
I look forward to the contrarian article about how when you sit down for a beer with friends there’s nothing more awesome than having to yell to not even be able to make yourself heard.
…and, yes, as noted in comments this applies with perhaps even greater force to coffee shops, although I’ve never encountered it outside of Astoria.
Cool article on the 1913 barbers’ strike in New York, which led to the reduction of barbers’ workweeks from 92(!!!) hours to a mere 62 with Sunday off.
I may have to explore this in more detail in the labor history series.
This is an interesting piece about apparel corporations looking to get out of Bangladesh because of the bad publicity the building collapse has given the companies. They want to move to Cambodia, Vietnam, and the new frontier of Indonesia. What’s telling about it is that the corporations have zero interest in actually improving conditions for Bangladeshis. For all the talk (including by liberals) about how we need to keep outsourcing the jobs to countries with dangerous working conditions because the companies are providing them work, there is no commitment at all to keeping those people employed. While it might be a good thing that companies want to avoid multi-story factories with the potential to kill over 1100 workers like in Bangladesh, rather than work with Bangladesh to improve conditions or take some responsibility, instead they just want to bail on the country entirely because it might make them look bad to western customers.
Under normal circumstances, 2 workers dying in a Cambodian roof collapse wouldn’t make the news at all, which makes accidents in single-story buildings acceptable to corporations. Right now, if the linked article is accurate, there are some positive things in Indonesia, with contractors having to offer health insurance to attract scarce workers, but I am skeptical of the long-term continuance of such practices if Indonesia becomes a fully mobilized apparel economy with the plethora of workers that has allowed for low wages in other nations.
This issue also gets at the comments in the Cambodia workplace death thread, which were not unusual in their ultimate acquiescence in a spatially mobile capitalism. The only way capital has ever granted safer working conditions is to damage the bottom line. Workers’ compensation laws in the United States happened after workers began winning lawsuits for damages, forcing companies to create a rational system of low compensation to avoid expensive payouts. Corporations stopped dumping chemicals when OSHA and EPA created civil and criminal penalties for violators, minimal as they may have been. Capital mobility across the globe is not “natural.” Rather it is a process encouraged by the governments of the corporations’ home nations. Capital moved to pay lower wages, to reinstitute unsafe workplaces, to dump poisons into rivers and air, all of which increased profits. It is true that calling for international standards where workers around the world could sue corporations in the country of corporate origin for unsafe conditions and environmental degradation would lessen capital mobility, but I hardly see this as a bad thing.
We might ask, “What about the Bangladeshi worker!” if we lessened the incentives for race to the bottom capital mobility, but a) as the flight from Bangladesh shows, capital doesn’t care about that worker anyway, b) a job is a job no matter where it is–there is a great need for work in the United States, Cambodia, Bangladesh, wherever, c) we could create a system with some differentiation in conditions but that still protected basic worker safety and stopped grotesque pollution, both of which are very inexpensive to implement, and d) companies are more than welcome to stay in Bangladesh or Honduras or Vietnam and commit to long-term investments there that will help bring workers out of poverty. We rightfully say that these nations have laws on the books but because of corruption or indifference or violence they aren’t enforced. Allowing foreign workers access to international courts is one way to help solve these problems. The idea that enforcing safety in Cambodia is “impossible” is no different than saying that enforcing safety in Gilded Age American factories was impossible. It’s a process and there are issues of corruption, but of course it is possible, especially if the corporations in charge of the whole process want it enforced. If you want to see conditions in these factories improve fast, a couple of successful lawsuits against Gap or Asics is a pretty likely way to make that happen.
A good rule of thumb about country music is that when the singer starts talking, something weird is about to happen. When it is about morality or politics, you know the song is a winner.
Annoyed at Obama’s ability to almost be able govern under great restraint, Republicans have decided to blame him for everything that happens under his watch. “Deranged” liberals blamed the Bush administration when prominent members of it achieved their long stated goals, but that’s different because conservatives agreed with those goals. You can’t blame Bush for what Cheney and Rumsfeld said they’d do in 1997 because that’s “deranged” thinking that they didn’t have anything to do with anyway. It just so happened to accord with their stated wishes.
But blaming Obama for what happened in an IRS office in Ohio? That’s just logical. Because Obama’s not Bush, he knows all and sees all, which is why we’re being treated to this:
Obama’ll do it! Don’t you doubt him! I’m not saying that Republicans are about to ignore everything that happened between 2000 and 2008 and be so cynical as to impeach a Democratic president for some piddly thing after allowing their guy to run roughshod over the Constitution for eight years … but they’ve done this before and they’re this desperate again. If the administration doesn’t get on the offensive Obama might find himself being impeached because his signature on something is unclear and so maybe it was forged by an underling who was ordered by Eric Holder to obey the will of Obama and saw the Eye Biden borrowed and knew he didn’t want to be its next victim.
Because this week we entered into a Zone of Conspiracy the likes of which we haven’t seen since the last time Republicans felt this powerless. I’m not a gambling man, but if I were I’d bet that the next person to die a statistically probable death and have some relation to this administration will become FOX’s next cause célèbre. Because Obama knows all and sees all, especially including anything that can be used against him. So you better be good or …
You would think that Michael Kinsley’s defense of austerity would be the most glibly know-nothing thing you’d read all week. And you might still be right, but Kinsley has decided to make it interesting. His basic argument is that we should leave Ben Carson alllonnnnnnnne! because lots of people who weren’t notably homophobic didn’t support same-sex marriage rights until recently. Well, maybe not entirely unreasonable on its face. But is it applicable to Carson? Kinsley saves us some time by taking his own argument behind the office building and firing twenty shots into it with one of those new smart rifles:
Carson is the latest Great Black Hope for the Republican Party, which is quickly running out of African American conservatives to make famous. But Carson’s appearance was not a success. He should have left bestiality out of it. And any reference to NAMBLA—the “North American Man / Boy Love Association”—is pretty good evidence that we have left the realm of rational discussion and entered radio talk-show territory.
I will concede that there are non-homophobes, especially in public life, who came too late to supporting same-sex marriage rights. It seems pretty obvious that people who are still comparing supporters of same-sex marriage to pedophiles and people who have sex with animals are not part of this group but are just homophobes, full stop. How can a defense of Carson possibly proceed from here? Very unconvincingly:
Carson may qualify as a homophobe by today’s standards. But then they don’t make homophobes like they used to. Carson denies hating gay people, while your classic homophobe revels in it.
I hate to tell you, but disavowing hatred is pretty much the first play in the respectable homophobe’s playbook. “Hate the sin, not the sinner” and all that. Tony Perkins claims not to hate gays and lesbians. It’s like saying that Richard Russell couldn’t have been a white supremacist because he didn’t use the same racial slurs Theodore Bilbo did. And comparing gays and lesbians to pedophiles is homophobic by the standards of 25 years ago.
But, anyway, this is just a garden-variety bad argument, and I wouldn’t have bothered addressing it if it wasn’t for this great moment in unwarranted self-aggrandizement:
The first known mention of gay marriage is an article (“Here Comes the Groom” by Andrew Sullivan) commissioned by me and published in this magazine in 1989.
I…wow. I don’t mean to suggest that the Sullivan article wasn’t important in its way, or to deny Kinsley his appropriate share of the credit for publishing it. But “first known mention?” I don’t know what the very first was, but I do know that there were lawsuits claiming that bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional that made it to state appellate courts in Minnesota, Kentucky, and Washington between 1971 and 1974. Nor was the concept unknown in mainstream news sources during the 70s. It’s just remarkable that Kinsley wouldn’t bother to take a little time to check out this implausible, self-serving claim.
In reference to Kinsley’s austerity self-immolation, a couple of colleagues noted that Kinsley has the strengths and defects of the clever high-school debater: he writes well, and give him something — like a Wall Street Journal editorial — that’s illogical on its face and he can do an excellent job on it. But his knowledge of both history and contemporary policy is puddle-deep, and he feels no need to try to learn something before making definitive pronouncements. Claiming to be personally responsible for inventing the concept of same-sex marriage 1989, though, takes this problem to a new extreme.
Well, I’ll tell you why: A few weeks ago, I walked into this store–which upcycles furniture–fell in love with a dining room set, visited the store’s website, discovered they featured an “Artist of the Month,” barged into the store and asked them if I could be THAT ARTIST…and long story short…I’m going to be THAT ARTIST for the month of June. So if you happen to be in the area, please visit the store and have a looksee at my art.
This is my first official showing and I’m giddy. Also, I haven’t gotten a piece of my art framed in years. I got sidetracked with a little butthead who takes up a considerable amount of my time. (I won’t say who, but he plays baseball…poorly.) Anyway, it’s a kick seeing my art “done up” like this. So, please to be joining me in celebration. Come on, it’s Friday–why not?
If there’s one thing this country needs, it’s “smart” rifles that almost never miss no matter how inexperienced the shooter. I know that the first time some crazy person takes one of these onto a college campus or into an elementary school, our national freedoms will be expressed onto the bodies of students and teachers in an extra bloody and horrifying way.
“Do you think Soviet leaders really fear us, or is all the huffing and puffing just part of their propaganda?” President Reagan asked his Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Arthur Hartman in early 1984, according to declassified talking points from the Reagan Presidential Library. President Reagan had pinpointed the question central to the 1983 War Scare. That question was key to the real-time intelligence reporting, the retroactive intelligence estimates and analyses of the danger, and it remains the focus of today’s continuing debate over the danger and lessons of the so-called “Able Archer” War Scare.
Some, such as Robert Gates, who was the CIA’s deputy director for intelligence during the War Scare, have concluded, “After going through the experience at the time, then through the postmortems, and now through the documents, I don’t think the Soviets were crying wolf. They may not have believed a NATO attack was imminent in November 1983, but they did seem to believe that the situation was very dangerous.” Others, such as the CIA’s national intelligence officer for the Soviet Union, Fritz Ermarth, wrote in the CIA’s first analysis of the War Scare, and still believes today, that because the CIA had “many [Soviet] military cook books” it could “judge confidently the difference between when they might be brewing up for a real military confrontation or … just rattling their pots and pans.”
“Huffing and puffing?” “Crying wolf?” “Just rattling their pots and pans?” While real-time analysts, retroactive re-inspectors, and the historical community may be at odds as to how dangerous the War Scare was, all agree that the dearth of available evidence has made conclusions harder to deduce. Some historians have even characterized the study of the War Scare as “an echo chamber of inadequate research and misguided analysis” and “circle reference dependency,” with an overreliance upon “the same scanty evidence.”
To mark the 30th anniversary of the War Scare, the National Security Archive is posting, over three installments, the most complete online collection of declassified U.S. documents, material no longer accessible from the Russian archives, and contemporary interviews, which suggest that the answer to President Reagan’s question — were the Soviets “huffing and puffing” or genuinely afraid? — was both, not either or.
I while ago I chatted with Nate Jones on this subject:
I assume it was seeing this that made him feel that alcohol was insufficient:
The footage begins with the mayor mumbling. His eyes are half-closed. He waves his arms around erratically. A man’s voice tells him he should be coaching football because that’s what he’s good at.
Ford agrees and nods his head, bobbing on his chair.
He says something like “Yeah, I take these kids . . . minorities” but soon he rambles off again.
Ford says something like: “Everyone expects me to be right-wing, I’m . . .” and again he trails off.
At one point he raises the lighter and moves it in a circle motion beneath the pipe, inhaling deeply.
Next, the voice starts in on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. The man says he can’t stand him and that he wants to shove his foot up the young leader’s “ass.”
Ford nods and bobs on his chair and says yes, “Justin Trudeau’s a fag.”
The man taping the mayor keeps the video trained on him. Then the phone rings. Ford looks at the camera and says something like “that better not be on.”
The phone shuts off.