Archive for the ‘Belaboring the Obvious’ Category

Spectator Sport

Watching President Trump try to beat the Congress into submission has been a uniquely gruesome experience, but also an edifying one. For decades now, the dysfunction of the federal government has been something sensed rather than seen, partly because it was in the interest of the political class to keep it hidden, and partly because […]

Okay, Never Mind Decency. Have You No Sense of Irony?

A question for Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, and all the rest of the Confederate flotsam and jetsam clinging to the present occupant of the White House: The White House, that supposedly august parsonage of liberty’s American church, was built by black slaves. Do you really think you can make us forget that?

21st Century Public Policy Priorities

1. Look out for your family, friends, and people who’ve got something on you. 2. Starve, bomb, incarcerate, belittle, or humiliate everybody else. 3. Elevate assholes. 4. Listen attentively to morons. 5. Support the troops.

Sorry, Tim

The future is not apps, the future is functionality. The sooner you guys get done fighting over the money, the sooner Siri, Alexa, Cortana, etc., can be addressed as fully rational creatures, and we guinea pigs consumers can get on with sorting out the blessings and curses of this new symbiosis you’ve been threatening us with promising us.

The First Debate

President Obama: Trapped in his own ever-so-judiciously-created paradoxes. Mitt Romney: Lie, cheat, steal, and grin: it’s all he knows. The American People: Once again, getting what we deserve. Jesus: Wept.

Defaming Youth

He (or she) is a teacher (or an employer.) These kids today — I deal with a lot of them. No. Not this. Not again. They don’t like to work, and they don’t know anything. They can’t spell, they can’t add a column of figures. They can’t find France on a map, fer Chrissake. I […]

The Democratic Deficit in Europe — Another View

From Dani Rodrik’s Europe’s Next Nightmare in Project Syndicate: The challenge is to develop a new political narrative emphasizing national interests and values without overtones of nativism and xenophobia. If centrist elites do not prove themselves up to the task, those of the far right will gladly fill the vacuum, minus the moderation. That is […]

Not a Fool, but a Democrat

Today, in the Süddeutsche Zeitung online, an editorial by Heribert Prantly which makes, among others, the following point: In der Spitzenpolitik wurde dieses Referendum diskutiert, als habe Premier Papandreou vorgeschlagen, die Demokratie in seinem Land durch ein russisches Roulette zu ersetzen – und als gelte es daher, dem Premier die Waffe wieder aus der Hand […]

Eminently Good Sense

Listening to Noam Chomsky for the first time can be a little like discovering a new species of orchid sprouting in a Wal*Mart parking lot. We think we know where we are — everything looks and sounds the way it’s always looked and sounded — and then, suddenly, familiar perspectives seem to shift. It’s not […]

Must We Say It Yet Again?

Despite the contempt expressed for honest people by modern campaign managers, foreign policy experts, and the heads of national intelligence services, honesty is not a form of mental retardation. People who tell the truth as they see it aren’t stupid. They’re very well aware that in the short run, lying can be effective in getting […]