Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Stuck in the Middle with You . . .

Makers v. Professors

One has to plow through acres of bullshit before getting to punchline in Today's Glenn Reynolds column in the Washington Examiner(via Memeorandum):
[A]fter a while, people who pay their bills on time start to feel like suckers. I think we’ve reached that point now:
* People who pay their mortgages - often at considerable personal sacrifice - see others who didn’t bother get special assistance.
* People who took jobs they didn’t particularly want just to pay the bills see others who didn’t getting extended unemployment benefits.
* People who took risks to build their businesses and succeeded see others, who failed, getting bailouts. It rankles at all levels.

And an important point of Sykes’ book is that moocher-culture isn’t limited to farmers or welfare queens. The moocher-vs-sucker divide isn’t between the rich and poor, but between those who support themselves and those nursing at the government teat. (emphasis added)

Only at the end does one discover that "Examiner Sunday Reflection contributor Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a University of Tennessee School of Law professor, and founder and editor of" Not only does Mr. Makers v. Takers nurse at the government teat, he does so in a singularly useless capacity—law professor.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Cancer Mall

Barbara Ehrenreich's excellent book, Bright-sided shined a light on the "infantilizing" pink-ribboned culture promoted by groups like the Komen foundation:
The first thing I discovered as I waded out into the relevant sites is that not everyone views the disease with horror and dread . . . There are between two and three million American women in various stages of breast cancer treatment, who, along with anxious relatives, make up a significant market for all things breast cancer related. Bears, for example: I identified four distinct lines, or species, of these creatures, including . . . the Nick and Nora Wish Upon a Star Bear, which was available . . . at the Komen Foundation Web site's "marketplace."

And bears are only the tip, so to speak, of the cornucopia of pink-ribbon-themed breast cancer products. . . "Awareness" beats secrecy and stigma, of course, but I couldn't help noticing that the existential space in which a friend had earnestly advised me to "confront [my] mortality" bore a striking resemblance to the mall.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Obama and his Enemies . . .

Rightwingers are the ultimate victims. Ted Olson(via Memeorandum), for example took to the Wall Street Journal today to whine on behalf of the Koch brothers, but his charges are exceedingly vague. He states:

Richard Nixon maintained an"enemies list" that singled out private citizens for investigation and abuse by agencies of government, including the Internal Revenue Service. When that was revealed, the press and public were outraged. That conduct will forever remain one of the indelible stains on Nixon's presidency and legacy

OK. So, has the Obama administration "singled out private citizens for investigation and abuse"? Olson is kind of sketchy. Giving utterly no specifics, Olson accuses the administration of "engag[ing] in derogatory speculative innuendo about the integrity of . . . tax returns." Obama is also guilty because his "surrogates and allies in the media" have "attacked" and "sullied" the reputation of the Kochs. Absent more specific charges of, you know, actual abuse; it seems as if the president stands accused of engaging in politics.

Reliable hack, Glenn Reynolds adds " I was talking to a CEO last year — an Obama supporter no less — who told me he was amazed at how openly Administration officials threatened to use media demonization if he didn’t play ball." So the administration will criticize those it disagrees with.

Molly Hemingway at Ricochet unwittingly (one is tempted to say "half-wittingly") explains why the comparison between the Nixon Enemies List and Obama's criticism of the Kochs is absurd: "Nixon's lists were secret. Obama is telegraphing his list in his very public rhetoric, the actions of the administration and the oversight of Congress." It was the secrecy of the first that made it so susceptible to abuse.

UPDATE: I should clarify the last line. Nixon's enemies list was secret because the purpose was abuse.