Tuesday, August 30, 2011

wake up the echoes

Stewart Mandel, one of the better college football writers out there and no Irish booster, picks Notre Dame to return to the Fiesta Bowl this season.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

aspiring Mittheads

It's really starting to feel like a lot of people in Washington are trying to convince themselves Mitt Romney is a sensible Republican, in the sense of a Republican who eschews teabagger wingnuttery for 1980's style orthodox conservatism. Guys, it ain't happening. Romney is running as whatever he thinks will win at the moment. He has no principles.

It's silly to even want that, really. If that's the kind of candidate you want, you already have John Huntsman, not to mention (let's be honest here) Barack Obama.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

libertarian utopia for me, police state for you

Don't know why I keep tempting the largest troll population on the internet. Guess I just can't help myself.

Yglesias looks at a certain candidate's alleged "libertarian" platform and finds it distinctly un-libertarian-y. Something that's long irritated me about calling him "libertarian" is he's only libertarian for dudes. Apparently he's also only libertarian for native born citizens and business types, so basically he's libertarian for people like himself.*

You can't legitimately call yourself a libertarian if you want to strip other people of their right to make their own medical decisions.

*I'm assuming this ob-gyn ran his own practice.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DC is a'rockin'

Funny quote on the Tweetster: “More and more scientists are questioning whether that was a real quake. It is a theory that’s out there.”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gaddafi on his way out

So it appears that over the weekend the people of Tripoli revolted, handing much of the capital over to the rebels and leading to lots of predictions that Moammar Gaddafi's reign will be officially over in a matter of "hours, not days." Since John McCain said that, though, I can't help but wonder if we'll see Gaddafi retake the entire country tomorrow.

I'm of two minds about all this. On the one hand, it's awesome if it's really happening. No more Gaddafi? Self-determination in another former dictatorship? Hell yes. Freedom is on the march! A thousand points of light! Freeance and peeance!

It'll also be another decision in which Barack Obama was right and I was wrong. That's a good thing, really; I'm not the guy with his finger on the button. I want the guy in the White House to be better at this than me.

On the other hand, what precedent does it set?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Miami football

Hard to see how Miami avoids the death penalty for this one.

Last time the NCAA deployed it on a football program (SMU in 1984), the program withered overnight, and was totally noncompetitive for decades. It arguably even contributed to the breakup of the Southwest Conference.

Then again, what's the point of having a death penalty if the most heinous rule-breakers don't receive it?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

city mouse vs. country mouse

I'm getting really sick of some of the implications in articles like this one from Jezebel, in particular the conceit that small towns and rural areas constitute "real" America.

Let's set the record straight: only 16% of Americans now live in rural areas. The vast majority of us live in cities and suburbs.

Furthermore, as cute as David Foster Wallace's comment about 90% of Americans living in flyover country, he was wrong about that, too. The West Coast alone contains 49 million people; the much larger East Coast holds 112 million people, or about 36% of the population on its own. Put those together, and you have over half of the US living on the coasts.

Friday, August 12, 2011

the necessity of parties

A really interesting post from Yglesias on the Monroe presidency in light of many people's assumption that political parties lie at the heart of our government's dysfunction.

Monroe, as it turns out, ascended to the White House right as the Federalist party collapsed, ending the first party system and kicking off the "Era of Good Feelings" in which there were, functionally, no major opposing factions in Washington. How easy did Monroe have it during this period?

As it turns out, not at all.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

doing exactly the wrong thing

Yglesias notes that the real interest rates on government debt have become negative. A sane government would borrow a metric f**kton of cash right now and use it to put people to work, and put off dealing with the deficit until unemployment is under control.

The perniciousness of prolonged high unemployment rates is grossly underestimated by our political class, presumably because they never suffer it. People who are out of work for more than 6 months (and their families!) suffer for it monetarily, but also psychologically, and the damage in both cases more or less permanent. Entire generations bear the economic and emotional scars of hardship, as noted in this great article at The Atlantic.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

David Frum trying to see what is in front of his nose

Here's something you don't see every day: David Frum, a major conservative voice and speechwriter for George W. Bush, publicly expresses a moment of doubt in conservative economics in the face of Paul Krugman's prescience and accuracy.

I point this out not to gloat, but to throw a little kindling on the fire of hope, a fire that's gone untended for too long and -- at least for my part -- has been all but extinguished. People can change; people do get disillusioned with a crazy teabagging Republican party. People trying to see the truth still sometimes catch a glimpse of it.

It's also always good to see writers doing as the title says. It wasn't meant as an insult; as Orwell noted, it's a constant struggle for us all.