But George might be applying a double-standard here. When Republicans seized all four branches of power last decade, they threw aside their principals too. Romney is being consistently inconsistent just like the 'conservative movement' and Republican party as a whole. The difference is that Romney is inconsistent on a daily basis. Republican conservatives are inconsistent depending upon who's in power.
¶ 9:39 AM
'The Cult of Jurassic Park' For those looking for just a fun and engrossing read, it's hard to beat Bryan Curtis's 'The Cult of Jurassic Park.' ... About halfway through the article, I realized I might be a closet Jurassic Park fanboy, though Jaws, The Godfather and Goodfellas remain my true line-by-line fields of fanboy expertise. ... Surprisingly, I've become somewhat of a budding Avatar fanboy. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that, but there it is. ... Bryan's story via Reader No. 1.
¶ 6:06 AM
Saturday, October 22, 2011
The End of the War Have you noticed something? ... It has to do with the president's announcement that U.S. troops are pulling out of Iraq by the end of the year. ... Do you notice it now? Give up? ... It's silence. For a war that started with such loud and passionate arguments for and against, the silence now is almost defeaning. The war's not even ending with a whimper. Maybe people don't believe it's over. Maybe most people believe it ended a while ago. Perhaps people are too exhausted or cynical. Maybe it's just me. But it's still kind of strange to think that such a momentous decision could be met with such seeming indifference. ...
¶ 12:05 PM
Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie show up; OWS officially co-opted The quasi-professional protesters are now showing up in droves at OWS. So the protests are now officially kaput. ... Here's the thing: The same quasi-professional crowd has protested for and against a lot of things over the years. Nuclear energy. Climate change. Wars. Racism. Civil rights. Economic justice. Unions. They bring along the same protest uniforms, signs, songs, chants, paper-mache puppets -- and they advocate the same solutions for every problem, roughly centered around strengthening the very same state they so often protest. Then they recently hit upon the idea of protesting against Wall Street. Finally, they hit a chord. Finally, there's a villain most everyone agrees deserves to be villainized. But then they bring along the same protest uniforms, signs, songs, chants, paper-mache puppets -- and they advocate the same solutions for every problem, roughly centered around strengthening the very same state they so often protest.
¶ 6:41 AM
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
‘To watch a bureaucracy being born’ Fred Siegel pens another fine piece, tracing the historical fault-lines within liberalism and concluding the OWS protesters are simply repeating the mistakes of the past. I particularly liked this observation:
Thanks to the Bush and Obama administrations, Wall Street hasn’t been forced to pay the price for its misdeeds. But when I asked some of the Zuccotti Parkers about the politics of government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddy Mae, two of the prime players in producing the economic bubble, the question drew either blank stares or “I’ve heard of them” and little more. Though well aware of the corrupting effect Wall Street has had on Washington, most of the protesters, it seems, don’t grasp the two-way nature of crony capitalism.
The Student Loan Industrial Complex Student loans taken out last year exceeded $100 billion, pushing the total outstanding student-loan debt to nearly $1 trillion. Question: How is it helping the economy to have so many young people so deep in debt so early in their lives? Their spending power is dramatically reduced as they pay off these loans. There's no equity involved, so they can't borrow against them. They can't easily wriggle out of the loans, so they are legally anchored down by these debts, sometimes for decades. ...
Like the government's past housing policies, the government's student-loan policies have to be re-evaluated -- and the sooner the better.
After the housing-market crash, many lawmakers on the left and right conceded that the dream of every American owning a home had to be re-evaluated. The policy goal wasn't practical, safe or affordable. The same applies to student loans. The dream of sending every willing student to college also has to be re-evaluated, if it entails putting them into heavy long-term debt. ... Reader No. 1 and I got in a good conversation about the student-loan issue over the weekend. I mentioned to him how some young OWS protesters and sympathizers blamed Wall Street/bank bill collectors for their woes. They make a direct connection between Wall Street and their debt woes. And there is a connection. A big connection. Financial institutions are making big bucks by acting on behalf of the government. But the other culprits in this sad saga -- the government and the higher-education establishment -- are not getting the criticism they deserve.
P.S. -- Comparisons of student loans to last decade's subprime-mortgage frenzy are apt. The similarities are eerie. But because of federal laws, it's harder for borrowers to default on student-loans, reducing the sudden risks of a wide-ranging financial-system disruptions. But student loans still have a long-term effect on the economy. It's a policy desperately in need of review and immediate reform.
¶ 8:36 AM
Mocking them is easy; but here at home, the problem of crony capitalism is in fact eating away at our civic entrails. Leftists willing to grapple with this malignancy should be welcomed, if only for the potential seriousness of their efforts.
As the more thoughtful 68ers eventually discovered, the idea of reforming government by expanding it is a circular dead end.
I wonder what would happen if some serious-minded Tea Party and OWS types got together to hammer out an agreed-upon plan of action. I think they'd find a little bit more common ground than they might realize. There's going to be no consensus, ever, on a single-payer health care system or on eliminating private money from campaigns. But there are some points of convergence worth exploring.
¶ 4:44 PM
Title Town, Part II And if the video in the post below doesn't work for you, then at least:
It's been a rough few weeks for Boston fans. Time to remind ourselves that we're ... you know what. Via Adam.
¶ 1:48 PM
'They are in no danger of lapsing into the heresies of the past' Reader No. 1 sends in this Clark Booth piece from DotNews. Clark:
Teams that stupidly commission dumb and reactionary fools can suffer the consequences for a generation as the Red Sox did when the deeply misguided Yawkey placed his trust in the bizarre likes of Pinky Higgins.
Not that we are predicting anything comparable is about to happen to your contemporary Red Sox. No matter how the current nonsense is resolved they are in no danger of lapsing into the heresies of the past. We’ve moved well beyond all that. The more practical issue is: Can they remain apace of the Rays and Yankees who so gravely humiliated them in 2011 even if they, too, only survived another week?
Reader No. 1 adds:
Clark Booth has seen it all around here and contributes literary, filmic, and historical perspective on Our Principal Owner and the likelihood of what once seemed like the distant past repeating... I hope he is right that we are in 'no danger of lapsing into the heresies of the past.' It would be terrible if we Sox fans found ourselves 'boats against the current, borne back ceaslessly into the past'
For a couple of more sickening headlines, check out Peter Gammons on Twitter, including: "The Red Sox obit has turned into Michael Jackson."
I'm sure we will all now ask the question that Soxaholix hints at: is there a tough guy out there with a Red Sox/New England context who can help right the ship? Here's someone who wasn't here long but was a big part of 1986 success. No idea what he is like, didn't have a great managerial record but then neither did Tito in Philly.
Needless to say, Soxaholix has been on fire the past few days. The punch bowl jibe was classic.
¶ 12:23 PM
'You've essentially got socialism for the capitalists' Michael Lewis says the Occupy movement still has legs. I disagree. But we agree the anger directed at the pseudo-capitalist Wall Street is legitimate and important.
¶ 6:02 AM
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Sox went after Yankees, ended up as Mets Reader No. 1 is on an absolute roll, sending in this ESPN piece (whose original headline I stole and shortened above). Reader No. 1’s terse reaction: “Hitting below the belt!” … But we agree it’s a gruesomely accurate low blow. … Man, the Sox have sunk so low so fast. … Also from Reader No. 1: “Theo Epstein’s dream job turned nightmare.” … Some media outlets are too busy trying to resurrect the cute “long-suffering Boston fans” spiel and “curse” narrative, and ESPN is just cleaning up on the obvious facts, to wit: This is a friggin dysfunctional franchise at this point.
Update -- Stealing a line from Patton and applying it to the current Sox chaos, all I can say: “I love it. God help me I do love it so. I love it more than my life.” ... Total breakdown. Total all-out back stabbing. God help me, as a Bostonian, but I do live it so.
¶ 8:23 PM
‘Tito victim of latest Sox smear campaign’ Gordon Edes has a completely different take on the Sox painkiller-booze scandal.
And watch the Nomar interview while you’re at it (within the same link). Nomar: “I think people just now are starting to recognize, ‘Ok, there’s a pattern here. All of a sudden it becomes personal.’” And then he lists all the past hit-job targets under current ownership – Francona, Ortiz, Damon, Pedro, Lowe, Manny, himself, etc. He even goes back to Mo and Clemens and Yaz and Williams. But, for our purposes, the current ownership is the issue. No one is quite saying it, but all fingers are pointing in the direction of Lucchino and Henry. They’re the only ones left, unless you count Werner, and I don't.
Update -- From Reader AM:
I think Edes is right, and so's Nomar -- maybe not all the way back to Yaz and Williams, but at least in noting the similarity of the current (remaining) front office's behavior to that of Dan Duquette. As Duquette learned, vilifying everyone on their way out can work for a while, but then it all catches up with you.
As for "John Henry taking a stronger hand" (widely reported) -- well, yeah, I'd think so. The decisions the Sox face over the next five months involve putting hundreds of millions of his dollars at very high risk, one way or another.
They've put together a team that is much less than the sum of its parts, not in terms of character but in terms of distribution of resources. In 2011 they did not have a starting pitcher who ranked in the top 50 in innings pitched, or a corner outfielder who played well enough to be a major league starter, which is not much to show for $100 million. And because their "young" players are 27-28-29, they have to win now (expensive even to try; no guarantees) or really rebuild (which will trash their attendance and business model). Too bad Theo couldn't take the team with him to the NL Central.
Update II -- David Ortiz says he wouldn’t mind playing for the Yankees: “I don't know if I want to be part of this drama for next year.” ... Now watch for a resumption of the smear campaign against him.
¶ 8:02 AM
Occupy Wall Street, RIP Ron Radosh parks it with his deconstruction of the Occupy movement’s origins and almost inevitable descent into standard left-wing rhetoric and theatrics. It’s a shame. I know of a number of non-lefty people who really wanted the rallies to keep their initial focus on Wall Street’s shenanigans. But the subversives were subverted by the subversives. … Ron via Reader No. 1.
One major quibble: For the life of me, I don’t understand how someone as smart as Ron can make the bone-headed mistake of blaming the Obama administration for the bank bailouts. The initial bailouts occurred under the Bush administration and have kept right on going, via the Federal Reserve, which effectively allowed the banks to pay back their bailout debts with indirect bailouts via the fed’s discount window. I know those on the right feel compelled to bash Obama at every turn. But, really, the basic facts about the bailouts aren’t really in dispute. HBO couldn’t possibly be wrong!
¶ 7:19 AM
Monday, October 10, 2011
Wall Street protests: The 'die-in' stage We're hitting the tipping point on the Occupy protests. They tried to hold a "die-in" in DC to protest drone attacks in Afghanistan -- and, curiously enough, they were led by a conservative blogger, who obviously knows how to lead a herd. We're now officially at standard lefty protest stage. Oh, well. The protests were beneficial for a while. ...
Anyone who has followed such protests, for any variety of causes over the decades, knows the "die in" is one of the oldies but goodies, right up there with "Hey, ho ..." chants, paper mache dolls, Hitler mustaches attached to photos of evil opponents, and, of course, my personal favorite, the fearsome anarchists with bandanas. They almost can't help themselves. Their politics are almost their religion, and protests are part of the service rituals. It's too bad. Their complaints about Wall Street are legitimate. They're hitting a chord among non-lefties. But, as I said, they can't resist pulling out the old props, cliches and demands. ...
¶ 3:17 PM
Whitey Bulger: Hidden in plain view, Part III I think the debate is largely over about whether the Whitey tipster should have been outed. The Globe, via DK's twoposts this morning, makes compelling arguments for running with the name, among them: 1.) The FBI and US Attorney never objected. 2.) Whitey almost certainly knew the Icelandic woman was the tipster. 3.) There are plenty of other far more damaging witnesses out there and they're not in witness protection. ... Running with the name was the right call in this case.
¶ 12:39 PM
Whitey Bulger: Hidden in plain view, Part II The Herald raises a valid point: Was it right to oust the anonymous tipster in the Whitey case? The arguments against: it could put the tipster's life in danger and discourage anonymous sources in future cases. I get the main points. But here's why this case is different:
1. The entire Whitey case was a moral mess precisely because of the government's past use of secret informers. It's more than a little ironic that some are now whining about the integrity of the anonymous-informant system.
2. The FBI has lost so much credibility that some doubted whether anyone was really paid off for the Whitey tip. Count me among the skeptical. A little extra transparency in this case is justified.
3. The law enforcement community has leaked like a sieve throughout Whitey's gangster career. Does anyone seriously think the name wasn't already floating out there before the Globe identified her?
4. Two-million dollars is a lot of public money to let go without public accountability -- especially in a sordid case like this one.
5. The Whitey saga has been a media circus since the day he was tipped off by an FBI agent and went on the lam in '94. Books and movies are being planned about the Whitey saga as we speak. No one should be shocked by this latest twist.
6. The remnants of Whitey's gang a.) mostly hate Whitey for being an informant. b.) they like the fact he was caught. c.) they're not about to reach out for international retribution. d.) the gang is beyond over the hill. It's kaput.
Still, you've got to be a little nervous about the tipster's safety. How can you not be? But I don't believe terrible risks have been taken.
¶ 6:52 AM
Sunday, October 09, 2011
Whitey Bulger: Hidden in plain view The Globe has a huge package about Whitey Bulger's years on the run. It's good. Special bonus: They ID the Icelandic tipster who got the reward money. Believe it or not, I think I recognize her old Noxzema face. At the least, she has that late '60s look that you associate with old shaving commercials, Joe Namath and take it off, take it all off. ...
P.S. -- She also has a face that reminds me of the types of blondes you'd regularly see on Love Boat -- pretty, perky, wholesome.
¶ 9:52 AM
Protesting Wall Street, Part II Reader No. 1 sends in a batch of right-wing/libertarian analysis pieces about the Occupy Wall Street protests. They run from the excellent (Nicole Gelinas) to so-so with a strong ending (Ron Radosh) to downright pathetic (Ben Stein, who plays the cranky old-man character again, complaining about the weather and a Hispanic parking garage attendant who speaks Spanish and ends up embracing Herman Cain's idea that the unemployed are unemployed because they won't get a job). ... Peggy Noonan also has a good piece about all the discontent out there, though it's not necessarily about Occupy Wall Street. ...
I haven't budged much from my own initial reaction to the protesters. I know that most of them are your standard lefties out to get their latest Protest Merit Badges. Personally, my favorite blast-from-the-past protesters are the "anarchists" running around with bandanas covering their faces. Oooooh.They're so fearsome! ... Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, the protesters. I still generally support them, until they get too rowdy and disruptive. They're reaching that tipping point. But until then, I'm glad they're drawing attention to Wall Street. The financial system in this country is broken. It's anti-free enterprise. It's not capitalism. Wall Street's "associates" have become a protected class. It's un-American. ... Hub Blog's Manhattan WMD Spy was supposed to be attending yesterday's NYC rally and was due back with a secret undercover report. Maybe the evil anarchists got him. I don't know. But I'll report back when he reports in.
¶ 9:10 AM
Friday, October 07, 2011
Really good news for a change Yankees are out. Bounced by Detroit. ... I feel better. It isn't a case of mindless Yankees hating. It's about misery loving company. ... Now if only the Pats can shut up the Jets this weekend.
¶ 5:34 AM
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Steve Jobs and America's company, Part II I was going to mention in the post below how Steve Jobs, Bill Gates et gang came along at a time in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s when so many people were writing off America as a has-been industrial power. That bout of national handwringing came to an abrupt end once the ‘80s boom took hold, led by America’s emerging high-tech titans.
Virginia Postrel covers roughly the same ground, only much better and more deeply:
To understand the cultural significance of Steve Jobs, you have to go back in time: to before the iPad or iPhone or iTunes, before Apple Inc.’s comeback products made candy-colored plastics and iAnything cool, before Jobs got kicked out of Apple, even before the Macintosh hurled a sledgehammer at Big Brother.
It’s 1981. Most people have never heard of Silicon Valley. The country’s most famous businessman is Lee Iacocca, the head of Chrysler Corp. He’s famous because in 1979 he engineered a government bailout -- loan guarantees -- that saved the company.
Good stuff. Read on. It's a trip down the old corporate memory lane. ... Virginia via Instapundit.
The reason he strikes such a huge chord with an entire generation lies, it seems to me, beyond his immense technical and business and design skills. It was because he became the bridge between the 1960s and the 1980s, the counter-culture and the counter-counter-culture. He was the hippie capitalist. He was the fusion of two great American forces - personal actualization and a free market.
Steve Jobs and America's company Quickly, name a US company that you, as an American, are particularly proud of when talking to overseas friends. General Motors? Please. General Electric? Sort of. Microsoft? Well, OK. Apple? Definitely. Apple has long been highly respected world-wide for its cutting-edge technologies, elegant product designs, and dependable quality. There's a mystery and aura to the company that only a few companies can come close to matching. Google jumps to mind. It's a US company I'm proud of as an American. But Apple is different. It's not just a software or Internet company. It's the whole thing --software, hardware, the whole tangible kit and kaboodle. It represents American industry at its finest. ... And now its visionary founder is gone. Steve Jobs has died. It's a sad day for all his relatives, friends, colleagues, clients and customers. But it's also a sad day for the country. A new Steve Jobs-like character will eventually and inevitably emerge down the road. But the passing away of Jobs is an end of an era in so many ways. It was a good and profound technological era, stretching from the introduction of home computers in the 1970s to the hand-held smart phones of today -- and Steve Jobs was at its forefront every step of the way. It was an amazing run. Steve Jobs was an amazing man.
¶ 9:33 AM
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Finally, students protest rising tuition costs Two hundred Northeastern University students held a rally to protest rising tuition rates. But by blaming only banks, they're missing the other culprits: the government and the universities themselves.
The government is too involved in the student-loan business, guaranteeing too many loans and encouraging students to go into debt. The banks are only too willing to oblige, ultimately handling and issuing the loans on the government's behalf. The universities haul in the dough, having no incentive to tighten their belts as long as the student-loan conveyer belt keeps delivering the financial goods. Sound familiar? The similarities to the housing-market bubble are eerie.
¶ 2:27 PM
Monday, October 03, 2011
Wall Street targeting Elizabeth Warren? For the reasons stated in the post immediately below, I'm almost -- almost -- sympathetic toward Warren. ...
Update -- Looks like Brown is going to need all the help he can get, based on this latest poll. But he better be careful not to come across as Wall Street's darling. The betting here is he'll be taking populist shots at the financier class in coming months. He can't afford to let Warren outflank him too much on this issue.
¶ 9:37 AM
Sunday, October 02, 2011
Protesting Wall Street I'm with Margery: It's easy to make fun of the 'brats' protesting on Wall Street and in Boston these days. They're largely your usual-suspect lefties -- anti-capitalists at heart and ignorant about how economies work. But here's the thing: They're right to be protesting Wall Street's shenanigans, even if their world views and motives are wrong. Wall Street is not a true capitalist institution anymore. It's practically an extension of government, or government is an extension of Wall Street. Either way, it's not operating under normal free-market principles. Practically every single major firm on Wall Street should be out of business right now. They're not because we, the taxpayers, bailed them out. But there they are, all the Wall Streeters smugly drinking their champagne and mocking the protesters and believing they're the hotshots of capitalism worthy of huge bonuses, and ... Never mind. Don't get me going on these plutocratic clowns.
¶ 9:40 AM
'The Sox need the formulas for Chemistry,' Part II From Reader No. 1 re the post immediately below;