August 30, 2013

Obama's Thoughts On War In 2002
— Pixy Misa

He wasn't always a unilateralist, cowboy, illegal war monger.

What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaida. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.

Thanks to Slublog.

Oh and the UK Parliament voted down David Cameron's request for intervention in Syria. The last time that happened to a Prime Minister was in 1782 when Parliament decided against continuing the war against the American colonies. Historic!

Update: John Kerry's live speech on Obama's drive to war.

Thanks to RD for that link.

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Top Headline Comments (8-30-13)
— andy

Holiday weekend Friday!

Yeah, this is gonna be a really productive day at work for Obama ... like any of the rest have been.

Exhibit A:

But, hey, they were talking about job creation or something.

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August 29, 2013

Overnight Open Thread (8-29-2013) - Pre-Pre-Labor Day Weekend Edition
— Maetenloch

Drunken Sex = Rape?

Apparently feminist types have been trying to sneak a new social rule in through the backdoor (heh heh heh 'backdoor') that any sex with a drunk girl is still de facto rape - even if she was conscious and willing. And now even daring to question this pronouncement from on high is AN OUTRAGE!!!! as Dr. Phil discovered to his dismay.

On his podcast, Adam Carolla asked female comedian Nikki Glaser what she thought of the new "law" that "drunk sex is rape." Blindsided, she chirped back, "I've only ever been raped! I just realized that." ("I've raped myself," Carolla put in.)

Science: Haters Gonna Hate

Haters aren't just gonna hate, they have to hate according to new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. ...If you've ever read a comment chain on YouTube, then you already knew this to be true, but now it is confirmed

Why It's Time We let The Pandas Die Out

They're cute and all but also pretty much the underachieving non-hacking losers of the large mammal world. Rhinos would also be a contender except that they can and do kill people regularly so they have that going for them.

And pandas don't even seem to want to survive. In the wild, they're prone to inbreeding. In captivity, zoos are forced to use Viagra and animal-porn to encourage them to mate, or resort to artificial insemination. They're slow and lazy, and use their predatory teeth for nothing but eating bamboo-a plant that's also disappearing. "Look, Darwinism isn't for crybabies. And conservation requires making tough choices,' writes Lavin. "Pandas had a pretty good run for 3 million years. All that money is better spent on preserving diverse habitats rather than on a single hopeless species."

NJ Court: Texting Someone Driving Could Make You Liable For a Crash

"A New Jersey Appeals Court has ruled that both sides of a texting conversation which resulted in a car accident could be held liable. The ruling came as part of a case in which the driver of a truck received a text message shortly before striking a motorcycle carrying two passengers. The court ruled that while in this case, the person sending the text wasn't liable, they could be if the circumstances were a little different. '...a person sending text messages has a duty not to text someone who is driving if the texter knows, or has special reason to know, the recipient will view the text while driving.'"

I don't see how this could be enforced since it's virtually impossible to know ahead of time that someone will in fact view your text while driving. Plus you're still allowed to call people when they're driving without incurring liability. And don't drivers have the primary responsibility to not do unsafe things or are we now all legally considered child-like compulsive chat-bots who can't handle shiny things?


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College Football Thread
— Dave in Texas

Just got home from work. Apparently the season started. Tonight. Thursday.


South Carolina (6) and NC, underway.

Also @MikeTalley73 set up a couple of college football pickem groups if you feel like playing 16167 16172 16176 password is: paulanka Which was darn nice of him.

And now, some elbows.


OH. NFL games too. It is all upon us.

Man this has been a long week.

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Cool Facts About T-Bone
— Ace

Cory Booker's imaginary pal T-Bone once crushed a lump of coal in his hand, and transformed in into a Dove.

Some other stuff:

From Instapundit, a mattress designed for better snuggling. Okay, so I clicked. My thought: That's stupid. So, so stupid.

But actually...

You can stick your hand underneath,
then pop it up and grab her boob,
like you're a Ghost!!!

A friend of mine talked about the 3 Arms of Comfort limitation. If two people lie together, one of the four arms must be very uncomfortable. (He was an engineer so he worked out the calculus.) Well, this would fix that. Though it does look weird.

Women probably don't even know about the 3 Arms of Comfort limitation. Yeah, that's because dudes have to take that hit.

An independent National Journal analysis finds, surprise, ObamaCare, like private school, is ruining everything.

Republicans have long blamed President Obama's signature health care initiative for increasing insurance costs, dubbing it the "Unaffordable Care Act."

Turns out, they might be right.

For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they're currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. Adding even more out-of-pocket expenses to consumers' monthly insurance bills is a swell in deductibles under the Affordable Care Act.

Health law proponents have excused the rate hikes by saying the prices in the exchange won't apply to the millions receiving coverage from their employers. But that's only if employers continue to offer that coverage--something that's looking increasingly uncertain.


Free Beacon offered a parody of that Slate article: If you use private transportation, you're a horrible, horrible person.

Meghan McArdle took the article seriously, and wrote a very interesting post about it. Trust me, it's interesting.

Popehat said this:

I'm not a Democrat or a Republican. I'm not a big-L Libertarian, although I have small-l libertarian leanings. If you asked me to summarize my domestic political outlook, you could do worse than this: I want to minimize the ability of people like Alison Benedikt, who tend to encrust government, to tell me how to raise my family or live my life. I believe in free expression, free worship, free conscience, personal responsibility, the rule of law, strictly limited government (and the strict limitation of people with clipboards and people with guns and badges, thank you very much), and that the best society is one in which free people make free choices, not one in which you allow the Alison Benedikts of the world to make the best interests of your children subservient to the best interests of a collective imagined by a smug self-appointed elite.

Now that I realize Cook and Benedikt have kids, I think I understand the reason for their anger on this issue. Were I to guess, I would say that they feel that their own kids may be disadvantaged by not going to private school, and hence seek to do what parents tend to do: Level the playing field for their kids. In this case, it involves taking an advantage away from other kids.

But this is part of what Popehat's mention of people who "encrust government" sort of means: People who "encrust government" use government, fundamentally, as a mechanism for rewarding themselves and disadvantaging others. Businesses attempt to hedge out competition; people making $60,000 per year want to tax the crap out of people making $85,000 per year.

Government is not holy. Government is a civil mechanism for coercing and disadvantaging other people in order to advantage yourself.

It is necessary, but it is a necessary evil, and it must be limited, so that people don't go looking for all possible ways to knock other people down (so that they are not "lower" by comparison).

John McWhorter on, yeah, Racist Miley Cyrus:

Many of the people clutching their pearls over Miley Cyrus’s gluteal gyrations at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday don’t want the America they claim to want.

Cyrus’s sin was to engage in the dance move known as twerking....

And a white girl twerking on television is merely a symptom of what Leon Wynter, in a sadly underacknowledged book a while ago, called the “browning” of American culture....

That charge–that she is making fun of black people in the guise of entertainment–is, among other things, reductive. How do we know Cyrus isn’t sincere when she says she loves “hood” culture? Because she’s white? I’m afraid that’s a little 1955.


But then, black writings are replete with complaints that mainstream America doesn’t appreciate black women’s fuller figures. Cyrus gets up and does exactly that and she’s a recap of a slave seller? How exactly are we to celebrate black women’s bodies–in a sonnet? “It’s just a clumsy white appropriation of black culture,” says Salamishah Tillet at the University of Pennsylvania. Right–but let’s see how it would go if we decided blacks can’t “appropriate” white culture. Wait, it’s not the same thing because whites are the oppressors? But in which human culture, ever in the history of our species, have groups living together not borrowed one another's cultural traits? What is the point in decreeing that whites must suspend this natural urge regarding the specific case of descendants of African slaves in the United States, other than to have an endless source of underdog grievance?

Um, it's much simpler than that. It's a childish impulse to say "This is MINE, this is MINE, and my friends'. It belongs to MY tribe, not yours."

It's the same kind of racial grumbling that whites get castigated for, and it's time we stopped condescending to blacks on this point and castigated them for tribal, us vs. them, this is OUR sh*t racial grumbling too.

You know how people's eyebrows go up if Sarah Palin says "This is our country?" And they start saying "what do you think she really meant by that? Hmmmm?"

Well that is attempting to insert a stupid Dog Whistle narrative into the statement and claim that what she really means is "White people made this country, we originated it, it's ours."

And this is a bad thing, right?

So tell me how on earth it's a good thing when the typical racialists gather 'round to claim, "oh, Twerking? That's a black thing. Black people made twerking, we originated it, it's ours."

By the way, this particular thing? It is very sad to claim ownership of this like it's the ckufing Space Shuttle.

No, Miley Cyrus is not racist. She's crazy. But not racist.

And at some point the people who yell the loudest about setting aside racial bigotries, tribal loyalties, and genetic hatreds really ought to see about doing so themselves.

There's no such thing as "Collective Racial Ownership" of an idea or an advance. I hate to be racist here, but if we're going to play that game, personally, I'm claiming The Wonder of Electricity for my Tribe. Westinghouse, Maxwell, Tesla, Edison: Yeah, "White Culture."

Now shuddup already with the unending racial grumbling disguised as something elevated. It's not elevated. It's base. It reversion to pack animal instincts.

Get over it.

Oh, Sorry: Dave's college football thread below.

More on T-Bone: Per an old video, Booker reports that his mysterious friend "T-Bone" "just disappeared into the streets" after their adventure together, to never be seen again.

Yeah that sounds very familiar to me.

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War of Choice? France, US Seem to be Backing Away from Syria Strike
— Ace

The directors of US warmaking decisions are getting a peaceful, queasy feeling.

When I say they're "backing away," I mean they seem to be signalling this through their softened rhetoric, not that they've actually announced they were reconsidering.

The UK David Cameron has already climbed all the way back down the tree. He says he'll now be taking the case for war to Parliament.

There's an innovation we could stand to imitate, huh?

Meanwhile, AP sources say that even within the administration, people are saying the proof of the Syrian government's responsibility for the gas attack is "not a slam dunk."

Those words seem precisely chosen to mimic George Tenet's conclusion that the case for Iraqi WMD was a "slam dunk." Well, if that was a slam dunk, and turned out to be (we think) wrong, and this isn't even a slam dunk, well then, what is it?

The intelligence linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack is no "slam dunk," with questions remaining about who actually controls some of Syria's chemical weapons stores and doubts about whether Assad himself ordered the strike, U.S. intelligence officials say.


[M]ultiple U.S. officials used the phrase "not a slam dunk" to describe the intelligence picture — a reference to then-CIA Director George Tenet's insistence in 2002 that U.S. intelligence showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a "slam dunk" — intelligence that turned out to be wrong.

A report by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence outlining that evidence against Syria includes a few key caveats — including acknowledging that the U.S. intelligence community no longer has the certainty it did six months ago of where the regime's chemical weapons are stored, nor does it have proof Assad ordered chemical weapons use...

A three-page report released Thursday by the British government said there was "a limited but growing body of intelligence" blaming the Syrian government for the attacks. And though the British were not sure why Assad would have carried out such an attack, the report said there was "no credible intelligence."

Sounds a lot like a "clear consensus" and "the science is settled" to me.

UPDATE: OBAMA, THE GREAT INTERNATIONALIST HOPE, SAYS HE'S WILLING TO GO IT ALONE IN SYRIA. We've come an awfully long way from The Global Test and the Wisdom of the International Community, huh?

President Obama is willing to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria even while allies like Britain are debating whether to join the effort and without an endorsement from the United Nations Security Council, senior administration officials said Thursday.

He's also willing to go it alone without Congressional authorization or the support (or even the knowledge) of the American public, too, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

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Slate, The Blog That Trolls Its Own Readers, Last in a Series
— Ace

This is the blogpost that everyone's talking about.

This appears in Slate's Frequent Dumb Offender ghetto "Double X Factor." That is where they let the girls write.

See, if Matt Ygelsias writes a stupid post, it's part of Slate's MoneyBox feature.

If a girl writes a stupid post, it goes into Double X Factor.

What this writer is writing about is not a "woman's issue." It's about education. It is no more a "woman's issue" than Matt Yglesias' article (which mentions protecting children from the brain-damaging effects of lead paint) was a "woman's issue."

But she's a girl, and this too dumb for the rest of the blog (and consider the implications of that), so into Double X Factor her dumb blogpost goes.

Because Slate is totally against the #WarOnWomen, guys.

This is something, by the way, they seem to be learning from the Daily Mail, which has been accused of deliberately embarrassing women in order to generate links. For example, that woman who said It's So Hard to Be Beautiful But Was Not In Fact Beautiful at all? The Daily Mail's leftwing critics asserted that the paper has long offered up such Sacrificial Lambs, always female, prodding them to write monstrously dumb articles in order to profit from Bus Crash Rubbernecking.

Provocative Title:

If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person
A manifesto.

Writer: Allison Benedikt. She is married to John Cook, who occasionally writes stupid things for Gawker.

Evidence of Trollish Intent: Read the headline again.

Other Evidence of Trollish Intent: Well... Let's look at the outcome. She trolled half the internet into linking her.

People like @danfostertype are now begging everyone else to stop talking about this stupid thing:

Plus, if you need more proof than that, there' the actual blogpost, which is scatological in its stupidity.

Yeah I gotta link this one. Everyone else already has. (Congratulations, David Plotz.)

It has to be read in its entirety.

Now as I quote, you will begin to suspect that this article is actually a sneaky ironic post which is actually making the case for private school while ostensibly arguing against it, by presenting a chilling portrait of public school (which failed to educate the author, as she's about to inform you).

Like Swift's A Modest Proposal.

But I don't think so.

Enjoy the hardcore link-trolling, David Plotz style: more...

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— rdbrewer

McCain: Immigration bill could give foreign workers leg up on Americans
"Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Arizona Republicans, said they fear that foreign workers will be more attractive to hire than Americans for some companies because the foreigners won’t be eligible for the same health care benefits." Suggested new headline: "McCain Admits Immigration Bill Sucks." [rdbrewer]

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Slate, the Money-Losing Blog That Troll-Baits With Provocative Stupidity: Second in a Series
— Ace

Matt Yglesias is actually not nearly so important a contributor to Slate's All-Dumb Rebranding Effort as LV Anderson. It's not that Matt Yglesias isn't profoundly stupid -- Oh, he is -- it's that people already know he's stupid. And also boring and tedious and walking around with a certain kind of I've Made It Now, Bitch swagger that doesn't suit someone who writes blogposts for a failing group blog.

LV Anderson, en revanche, is an Unknown Factor. You don't know that she's an idiot you're not supposed to take seriously, so she tricks you sometimes into reading her retard-bait blogposts and thus often has Slate's most trafficked articles of the day.

Nevertheless, although Matt Yglesias is sodden with failure-sweat, he did show the Stupid Flag today as well, and must be mentioned.

Provocative Title:

"We Need Government Handouts, Not Equality of Opportunity."

Outstanding start. Gentlemen, start your troll-engines.

Writer: Matt Yglesias, a Socialist who owns a million+ dollar condo despite not having the sort of salaried position which would usually produce the income enough to purchase such a palace.

Gee I wonder how he swung that.

Evidence of Trolling Intent: What's especially hate-trollish about this is that he attempts to offend both the right and the left in order to generate some Failure Links for Slate. Of course his headline seems like it's calculated to grab some Outrage Traffic from the right -- but his article is actually a repudiation of Barack Obama's statement that people need opportunity, not hand-outs.

Thus, he seeks to troll both sides.

Being Matt Yglesias, he fails. Not only is he too boring to read, but you're too bored even reading my attack on him for me to continue much longer, and so it is I will try to wrap up quickly.

Estimated Time It Took To Produce This Work: I would guess about twenty minutes. Well, for Matt Yglesias, I'd say an hour and change.

There's almost nothing to it. He quotes Obama, and then makes a series of assertions which he doesn't bother supporting.

Suggesting that this isn't seriously intended as an argument; it's just a headline crafted to get linked, with some verbiage beneath it to make it look like a Real Blogpost.

Crescendo of Stupid: Most of it, of course, so I'll just quote a bit, more or less at random.

The entire piece is confused because he didn't bother actually writing a piece, he just wrote a grabby headline and then doodled for 500 words. He cavalierly confuses "hand outs" with government's role in regulating things like lead paint and requiring seat-belts for highway travel. So none of his offered examples even bother to try to make the headline's provocative case that "people need more hand-outs."

And I guess this is where he tries to really amp up the Outrage:

You think about the good old days of the pioneers when you could pull up your bootstraps and go work a farm out west (if you were white, that is). Well, that was a government program! You didn't confiscate that land from its native inhabitants. Somebody else made that happen.

I thought the same thing about your $1.175 million condo, Matty. I cry myself to sleep thinking about the land your parents must have appropriated from the Indigenous Condo Board.

Okay, I shouldn't have done this post at all and should have gone right to #3, which is a doozy. But here's the crap post, now out of the way, and I'll get on Slate's Screamingly Stupid Blogpost of the Day Year.

Posted by: Ace at 11:07 AM | Comments (209)
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Now This Guy Is Funny: Dude Goes Off on Twit Who Sexually Degraded Dana Loesch
— Ace

Cheap. But he deserves it.

I was hoping Twitchy would compile this but I didn't think they would.

The key to this joke is something a commenter here said: One of y'alls said the guy who said that Dana Loesch needed a ckoc up her ssa was a little on the heavy side.

Well, that's all I needed.

That's the easiest joke in the world to make.

I like it because it's so cheap.

Whoops: I didn't think they'd compile my series of cheap fat jokes and it turns out they didn't. So I'm compiling them below.

Twitchy linked something else I did, about what people's Twitter bio brags really mean.

Here now the fat jokes.

Posted by: Ace at 10:39 AM | Comments (203)
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Oh By The Way, LV Anderson, Here's the Problem with "It's Like Crack"
— Ace

It's pretty simple and obvious, really: It's a cliche.

When a metaphor is first introduced, it has the power to make someone consider the ways in which two things are similar. Or it conjures an image in the mind.

A metaphor, used once, or even a couple of hundred times, adds something. It adds meaning. It adds imagery.

But used a thousand times, it no longer conjures any image at all, because We've already seen that.

Let's look at one like "Run like Hell." What does this mean, nowadays? It means nothing at all. It means "run fast," and that's it.

But let's look at the etymology of the phrase. (Caveat: I have not actually looked at the etymology of the phrase.) Originally the expression "run like Hell" was "run like Hell itself is at your back." (Maybe it was, who knows. I'm making this up.) This conjured a potent image of screaming devils chasing a man down when it was spoken. (If it was spoken at all. Which it probably wasn't.) And for the first several hundred times "Run like Hell itself is at your back" was spoken, it was an interesting turn of phrase that actually added to the communicative power of an otherwise-mundane sentence. (More likely, it was spoken zero times and added nothing at all.)

Flash forward to the thousandth time it's said, and "Run like Hell itself is at your back" has now been condensed to "Run like Hell," and it no longer conjures the image of a pack of ravenous demons. (If it ever did, which, let's face it, it didn't.) Now it just means nothing. It means "hey, run faster than normal."

The brain can only be tricked into producing an image so many times. And this doesn't just apply to metaphors of several words, but to individual words.

Did you know that if you say "two" a hundred times quickly your brain will stop associating the word "two" with the concept of the number 2 that the word is intended to conjure? So that "two" stops meaning 2, and starts just being weird squiggles in your head?

It's a phenomenon called Semantic Satiation.

The idea is that the word "two" conjures the idea of the number two by creating a synaptic, physical link between the neurons which store the word "two" and the neurons which store the concept 2. If you force that chemical bridge to be made too many times in too short a period of time, you will burn that chemical bridge out, and, for a time at least, your brain will be unable to link the two concepts, or at least will not be able to link "two" and 2 in time enough to understand.

This may be why writers hate using the same word multiple times in the same sentence, as I just artfully used "time" and "two" two times too many the last time I wrote a sentence.

Say the words often enough, as they say, and the words lose all meaning. Literally true, it turns out.

So that's the problem with "like crack," which frankly I don't even know why we're talking about it because everyone already knows it's a terrible cliche that no longer has any meaning besides "yummy." When the metaphor was first introduced, it was a sort of a cute thing, suggesting that food created a euphoria and capacity for addiction like the most powerfully-addictive drug known to exist.

Several thousand uses of this once-cute metaphor and it means nothing at all.

Now, LV Anderson could have written this, and even could have added -- and she'd need to add this, because leftists don't bother writing at all unless they're scolding society for All The Ways In Which It Has Disappointed Them -- that it's also an insensitive term, as a brief aside.

But then that wouldn't make for a good #SlatePitch, now would it? The problem with everything I've just written is that it's all true (except for the parts I made up, and the dubious science* I've claimed to be iron-clad fact), and things which are true are not interesting to people who live their lives in fantasy, and things which are true are not linkbait.

Thus, LV Anderson reached for a silly joke of a premise which was funny and cute... when it appeared on The Office like five years ago.

In other words, not only is "like crack" now a cliche, but to even note that "like crack" is a cliche is itself a cliche.

Up next for LV Anderson:

Stop Saying "Get Jiggy With it!"

It's Racist and a bit of Verbal Minstrelsy for White People Who Want to Add "Street Cred" With a Four-Word Commitment.

Yeah LV we're not saying that and in fact have not said it since it was fun for six months in 1999.

And that's how you write a toss-off article about cliches without embarrassing your family.

* Although I think it's real. Sometimes I will see a word and it will suddenly appear strange to me. Because all of a sudden I am seeing the word itself and not just the concept I've trained my brain to associate it with.

I mean, like look at these squiggles which I'm about to write. Don't think of the concept; just look at the squiggles themselves:


All of a sudden it looks weird, doesn't it? And you start going "wooorrrrdd, that's so weird, man!"

Pot smokers do this a lot, and I think what must be going on is that the THC is interfering with their neuron links so that they're suddenly realizing that the signifier ("word") is not the signifier (the concept of word), and it's just weird.

We go through most of our lives automatically liking "word" with a cloud of mental associations. When the curtain is suddenly pulled back, and we see that the word "word" has nothing inherently to do with the concept of "word" at all (except for, you know, being one), it's a... well, it's a trip, as the kids say.

Posted by: Ace at 09:46 AM | Comments (392)
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Corey Booker Made Up His Drug Dealer Friend "T-Bone," Sources Say
— Ace

I'm writing a piece on Slate's descent into madness dumb and so I'm just throwing this one up to fill the time as I finish that.

This is a good story. I just have nothing to add.

Booker’s tales of his trials and travails on the streets of Newark, the city that twice elected him mayor, are familiar, and they have helped to breed an almost mythological aura around the Stanford, Oxford, and Yale graduate.... But sources tell National Review Online that the central character in one of Booker’s oft-repeated stories — T-Bone, the drug pusher who the mayor has said threatened his life at one turn and sobbed on his shoulder the next — is a figment of his imagination, even though Booker has talked about him in highly emotional terms and in great detail.

The tale is one Booker admits he’s told “a million” times, according to the Newark Star Ledger. Ronald Rice Jr., a Newark city councilman and Booker ally who has known the mayor since 1998, says the T-Bone story was “a fixture” of Booker’s unsuccessful 2002 mayoral bid against corrupt Newark political boss Sharpe James, perhaps for its symbolic value. In Booker’s mind, according to the city councilman, “It’s not so much the details of the story” that matter, but the principle that “these things happen, they happen to real people, they happen in the city of Newark.” Rice, a Newark native, says he doesn’t know whether T-Bone exists. But, he explains, “if Cory had to tell a story or two and mix details up for Newark to get the funding for it, I see that as something that’s taking tragedy and doing something productive for it.”

The T-Bone tale never sat right with Rutgers University history professor Clement Price, a Booker supporter who tells National Review Online he found the mayor’s story offensive because it “pandered to a stereotype of inner-city black men.” T-Bone, Price says, “is a southern-inflected name. You would expect to run into something or somebody named T-Bone in Memphis, not Newark.”

Price considers himself a mentor and friend to Booker and says Booker conceded to him in 2008 that T-Bone was a “composite” of several people he’d met while living in Newark. The professor describes a “tough conversation” in which he told Booker “that I disapproved of his inventing such a person.” “If you’re going to create a composite of a man along High Street,” he says he asked Booker, “why don’t you make it W. E. B. DuBois?” From Booker, he says, “There was no pushback. He agreed that was a mistake.” Since then, references to T-Bone have been conspicuously absent from Booker’s speeches.


I don't know. I think T-Bone is real.

Certainly, the dialogue Booker attributes to "T-Bone" sounds realistic and highly accurate, and at all like something he Just Made Up By Remembering Bits of Movies and Old Damon Wayans Routines:

The mayor has gone into painstaking detail about his experiences with the elusive T-Bone. “I still remember my first month on the street,” he told Stanford’s alumni magazine in 2001 about moving into a crime-ridden area of Newark in 1995. “I walked up to this charismatic black guy my age called T-Bone, who was one of the drug lords,” Booker recounted. “I just said, ‘Yo, man, wha’s up.’ And he leaped in front of me, looked me right in the eye and said, ‘Who the blank do you think you are? If you ever so much as look at me again, I’m going to put a cap in your ass.’”

You know what this country really needs? Another black Politician/Savior with a sort of ambiguous sexuality and a fictitious backstory.

That's what we need.


Posted by: Ace at 08:22 AM | Comments (222)
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Slate, the Amateur Online Webzine Specializing in Hit-Trolling and Outrage-Fishing
— Ace

Well, it looks like the Washington Post was just so many chains holding back the Mighty Joe Young that is Slate. Because they're now parading their naked id in public, in all its stupid, ridiculous, laughable, sub-retarded inglory.

We have been speculating that Slate is pursuing a deliberate strategy of posting risible blogposts in order to get linked by the right (and also generate tons of traffic from reader comments -- as even their liberal readers are a bit scandalized at the stupidity flowing forth from David Plotz' amateur webzine now).

Today, this theory is all but confirmed. Today is a Banner Day for Slate, and that banner reads, "A somewhat dumber version of Salon." There are at least three blogposts (I will not say "articles") of such profound stupidity as to announce themselves as Desperate Cries for Help.

Here now a recap of the first scandalously dumb output pumped out by the Slate Brain Trust today.

Provocative Title:

"No, Your Favorite Food Is Not Like Crack

So stop saying that."

Great title. It starts us off on that hectoring, judgy tone that liberals so love.

Writer: L.V. Anderson, last seen arguing that an AP story about a woman who fell to her death while smoking a cigarette on a date was slut-shaming the victim.

Thesis: To say food is "like crack" is "callously classist," which is what people say when they want to say "racist" but suddenly realize that attributing crack addiction to minority races is itself racist. So they change it to "classist," but you know what the first draft said. Wink.

In addition, to speak of food as "like crack" demonstrates a profound indifference to the plight of crackheads. No really. But we'll get to that.

Crescendo of Stupid: The following passages seem primarily designed to induce people to say, "Why that's so obnoxiously stupid I have to link this!"

Saying that a food is “like crack”—or doing away with the “like” and using “crack” as an awkward adjective—is intended to be an edgy way of emphasizing how instantly gratifying it is, and how difficult it is to stop eating it once it’s in front of you. Unfortunately, all it really does is demonstrate how out of touch and callously classist foodie culture has become.

Is a steak sandwich bad for your health? Absolutely. Does caramel ice cream taste so good that it induces cravings in some people? You bet. Do sweet, fatty foods like Crack Pie light up the same pleasure centers of the brain that are activated by addictive drugs? Sure—in rats, at least. And yet food is not like crack in several significant ways.


None of the foods touted on menus as being like crack is illegal. None of them produces an intense, euphoric, consciousness-altering high when you eat it. None of them induces paranoia, psychosis, erratic behavior, or seizures when you consume too much of it over the course of a few days. None of them scars your lungs, making it difficult to breathe, if you make a habit of eating them over the long term. And none of these foods is so physically addictive that it has the potential to ruin your health, finances, and relationships.

Mm, that's interesting.

No, I mean it's interesting, the things you find interesting. It's like thinking about what your dog thinks about. Is it all just like Tennis Ball, Food, Keys, Leash, and Groin?

Yes, I understand that comparing food to crack is supposed to be hyperbolically absurd

Do you? Do you really understand that?

Because it sounds like you grasp the dictionary meaning of the individual words, but fail to understand the actual import of that the assembled words are intended to conjure in your mind.


The problem with the joke is that crack addiction isn’t funny. The rise of crack cocaine’s availability—and the brutal, racist war on drugs that ensued—tore inner-city communities apart in the 1980s and 1990s. And although sales of the drug aren’t what they once were, gang violence associated with crack trafficking continues to make some urban neighborhoods nightmarishly unlivable. There is no quicker way to display your ignorance of and indifference to the misery of poverty in America than to say that your favorite dessert is “like crack.”

We're still talking about saying "this key lime pie is like crack," right? Because for like five minutes there all of a sudden we were in New Jack City with Mario Van Peebles and Judd Nelson.


These foodies never consider the fact that crack abuse is a devastating problem for some people, because they never have to.

"These Foodies."

That's virtually racist itself.

Winking Self-Awareness? Is Slate just writing these stupid articles to get Outrage-Clicks? And are they so ashamed at what they're doing that they have to broadcast that's what they're doing, the way directors insert camp into films they believe are beneath them in order to signal "I don't like this movie either"?

I detect in this particular article a sly wink to the reader, a signal that the writer does not believe this stupid shit she's writing.

Here is the passage that actually sort of says "This is a joke and I know it."

How many people who smirk when they order a piece of Crack Pie have ever met anyone who smokes crack, let alone smoked it themselves?

Why do I say that's a Sly Wink? Because... That right there is a joke from The Office, and one of the only truly great jokes from the last several (very mediocre years) of the show.


Posted by: Ace at 08:52 AM | Comments (366)
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Real New York Times Op-Ed Headline: "Bomb Syria, Even If It's Illegal"
— Ace

Well! We've come quite a long ways since the New York Times' fulminations against presidential warmongering and foolish Wars of Choice, eh?

Just to be clear (why won't anyone ever let anyone be clear?): This isn't the editorial board talking, this is an op-ed submitted by some outside party (but which the New York Times chose to publish). And they probably made up that headline.

But it's still pretty extraordinary to see the New York Times' conception of the power granted by the Constitution to the President expand and contract according to the "D" or "R" after his name.

THE latest atrocities in the Syrian civil war, which has killed more than 100,000 people, demand an urgent response to deter further massacres and to punish President Bashar al-Assad. But there is widespread confusion over the legal basis for the use of force in these terrible circumstances. As a legal matter, the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons does not automatically justify armed intervention by the United States.

There are moral reasons for disregarding the law, and I believe the Obama administration should intervene in Syria. But it should not pretend that there is a legal justification in existing law. Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to do just that on Monday, when he said of the use of chemical weapons, “This international norm cannot be violated without consequences.” His use of the word “norm,” instead of “law,” is telling.

I continue to be baffled by liberal interventionists' lunatic belief that there exists an "international law" on war, apart from treaties. (And even treaties are routinely ignored or repudiated -- especially when countries want to go to war with each other.)

Liberals have this unshakable faith in bureaucracies, institutions, councils, and so forth. Even in a situation in which institutions which exist, supposedly, to stop or at least regulate war, have plainly failed, and international law (which does not exist) has gone quite out the window, they still want to talk in these terms.

Even when a guy, like this writer, has come to the conclusion "Oh the hell with international law" -- which should not have been the conclusion, but the starting premise -- he still feels the need to babble on about how his plan to disregard international law, which doesn't really exist, somehow vindicates international law, which still doesn't exist, even after the vindication.

This just shows how hollow this entire premise is. Everyone ignores it, including the liberal interventionists who are the only sops who kind of halfway believe in it.

Incidentally, the Constitution provides for an example of a mechanism for limiting the number of wars countries might fight: a democratic process for voting the country into war.

But that's so old-fashioned. Now we have a UN that can, in liberal interventionists' theory, vote us into war even if the people of the country (and their representatives in Congress) refuse to do so.

And even if the UN doesn't give us the green light for war, we can still go to war if one country, France, says it's okay. (And by the way, most of the UMP (the DeGaullist center-"right" block, opposes the war.)

But anyway. There's your New York Times, Wagin' Peace, now expressly advocating Illegal Wars of Choice because Obama is Lord and King and we must follow him into his every divine folly.

Thanks to @benk84.

Posted by: Ace at 07:16 AM | Comments (360)
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American Legion Approves Resolutions To Correct IRS Overreach
— Gabriel Malor

I mentioned the other day that the American Legion and other veterans organizations are concerned about IRS targeting. Kansas Sen. Moran got the ball rolling on this issue and now the American Legion convention has approved resolutions to respond.

It's like this. As a tax-exempt veterans patriotic organization, the American Legion has to demonstrate to IRS upon request that its membership complies with statutory limits. For example, at least 75% of members have to be past or present members of the Armed Forces with the rest being "cadets or. . . spouses, widows, widowers, ancestors, or lineal descendants." That last part is from statute.

According to the IRS manual that Lois Lerner's Office of Tax Exempt Organizations uses, this "other members" group that includes lineal descendants is limited to two degrees of consanguinity. IOW, IRS says only sons and grandsons count and that Legion posts can be fined if, for example, their membership includes great-grandsons, stepsons, and adopted sons. The Legion wants IRS to abide by statute, and one of the resolutions that passed yesterday was to seek congressional action on that point.

To give you another example, IRS is using a different set of dates to determine whether an individual is a wartime veteran than have been approved by Congress for the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Because of this manipulation, Legion posts that have been audited have faced the threat of fines from IRS officials who say the posts aren't complying with the IRS manual.

It should go without saying that to the extent the IRS manual deviates from statute no Legion post (or any other veterans patriotic organization) should have to comply. The Legion is working to get IRS to correct its manual or, failing that, asking Congress to step in.

Disclaimer: the American Legion arranged airfare and my hotel, as well as a per diem, so that I could attend their national convention. The American Legion had no editorial oversight of this post or any of my other coverage here or on Twitter.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 06:10 AM | Comments (209)
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Top Headline Comments (8-29-13)
— andy

Here's a good piece from David Freddoso, who'll be our podcast guest this week, on congressional authority over declarations of war.

This quote from Madison seems particularly relevant:

In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found, than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department. Beside the objection to such a mixture to heterogeneous powers, the trust and the temptation would be too great for any one man…

... particularly for as small a man as the current occupant of the White House.

Posted by: andy at 01:38 AM | Comments (203)
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August 28, 2013

Overnight Open Thread (8-28-2013)
— Maetenloch

The Most Important Life Lesson Older People Want Younger Ones to Know

Do not spend your life in a job you hate.

You know those nightmares where you are shouting a warning but no sound comes out? Well, that's the intensity with which the experts wanted to tell younger people that spending years in a job you dislike is a recipe for regret and a tragic mistake. There was no issue about which the experts were more adamant and forceful. Over and over they prefaced their comments with, "If there's one thing I want your readers to know it's . . ." From the vantage point of looking back over long experience, wasting around two thousand hours of irretrievable lifetime each year is pure idiocy.


Fringe Politics Isn't Really About Politics

Even if the people on the fringe obsess on politics and politicians.

Because their motives were basically psychological rather than political, the anti-Bush moonbats have kept up their radical craziness long after the original grievance has passed. The U.S. has pulled out of Iraq and is withdrawing from Afghanistan, but the radicals have not been placated by the policy changes they demanded, because policy changes are not really what radicals seek. Rather, the radical desires to destroy the society from which he is alienated.

...Why have fringe kooks like this - who raged against Bush when all the cool kids were doing it - not been placated by Obama's policies? For the same reason that Oswald, who embraced Marxism during the Eisenhower era, was not placated by John F. Kennedy's liberalism: It's not really about politics for these kooks.
It is wrong to dismiss these kooks as irrelevant to mainstream politics, because the mainstream influences the kooks even while the kooks influence the mainstream.

Unfortunately just because they're acting mostly out of their own internal psych issues rather than policy or ideology doesn't mean that they still don't have a powerful political influence. Like the strength of the retard the power of the kook shouldn't be underestimated.



Posted by: Maetenloch at 05:39 PM | Comments (539)
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Leaked: Last Message Out of Damascus from the U.S. State Department Crisis Team.
— Russ from Winterset

Not sure what this means, but I'm sure it's nothing serious. more...

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at 04:48 PM | Comments (300)
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