Apparently, Ken Cuccinelli’s running mate has been chosen to appeal to people who feel Cuccinelli is a bit of a wet.
There’s a long cover story on the Cincinnati IRS office which is ground zero for the recent scandal. The piece paints a picture of an understaffed, poorly managed group of mid-level bureaucrats, trying to follow impossible guidelines. Clearly, the agency screwed up in a big way that threatens to deepen our already dysfunctional politics. That said, partisan bias on behalf of the agents is not obvious.
What would help clear up this part of the issue is a number I’ve yet to see showing that (c)(4) groups with conservative names were disproportionately targeted. It’s clear, for example, that more “Tea Party” and similarly named applications were given extra scrutiny than liberal ones (like those with “Progress” in their title) but it also seems that there were a lot more of the former. The question of proportionality has yet to be answered.
Although all of this leaves out the fact that Barack Obama clearly took some time out from his busy schedule of arranging the murder of Christopher Stevens to cover up a failed Arkansas land deal to personally direct the actions of the Cincinnati field office.
In 1971, the film Zachariah was released. I had never heard of it until last night, but it seems to be a weirdo western starring Don Johnson, Dick Van Patten, Country Joe and the Fish, Joe Walsh, Patricia Quinn, Doug Kershaw, and the great drummer Elvin Jones. In this scene, Elvin Jones wears a groovy vest, kills a man in a gunfight, and then plays a long drum solo.
After seeing this, I went straight to my Netflix queue. Good? No it certainly doesn’t seem so. 1971 weirdness? Oh yes.
The inter-movement fights of the skeptic world, like geek gate-keeping in the geek world, is something I keep tabs on from afar. Though I am an atheist, a skeptic and–I think it’s fair to say– fairly geeky, I simply don’t have time to immerse myself in these worlds. But I am always lurking, always watching…to see what’s going on in these strange, distant places. And often what’s going on is that people are acting like asses.
Here’s something very assy that happened at a secularism conference for women.
Cards on the table, I am not sympathetic at all to the idea that people talk about privilege to shut (straight, white) men up. I’m sure there are people who use and abuse the idea of privilege, but I think for the most part people use it in ways that are legit. Furthermore, shutting up is actually a great thing to do sometimes. You might learn something if you do. I know–it’s worked for me.
Reading my Facebook feed the other day, I came across news item that made me roll my eyes. It’s the sort of thing your wingnut uncle sends to your email account– a story about people using EBT cards to put one over on the hardworking Americans of the Heartland and living a life of luxury filled with Cadillacs, risotto and…Pandora bracelets! It was sort of typical wingnut mythology, but the detail about the Pandora bracelet made me giggle.
I think that’s why the arrow on my bullshit detector went flying off. Aside from it being a suspiciously weird detail, a Pandora bracelet is hardly some marker of wealth.
But these little fairy tales are touchstones to the wingnuts amongst us. I think the stories give them comfort. “Daddy, tell me that one about the secretly rich girl who ate steak and destroyed America with her EBT card.”
I think the stories resonate for two reasons: 1.) Hey, if everyone who’s using EBT cards is secretly rich, well, then there’s no need for a food program, right? No poor people to see here! No hungry children here! Move along! 2.) It’s taken as a given that every last wingnut is a hard-working schmo who goshdarnit worked for every dime they’ve got…not like those liberals who are just reclining on Corinthian leather sofas and eating veal while getting sexually serviced by some homosexual, probably. It’s Special Snowflake Syndrome writ large, and the “We’re super-good, not like those lazy, libertine moochers” mantra is pretty much religion to these folks.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to eat Osso Buco off the toned buttocks of a gay porn star. Hey, I’m a liberal. It’s what I do.
UPDATE: I told Scott I was jealous of flame-war-worthy beer discussions, so I was interested in starting a war myself. I have NO idea how this topic will achieve this. Perhaps we could all fight about who has the best EBT card fairy tale. My only rule is that steak be involved…somehow.
Jorge Rafael Videla, former dictator of Argentina, is dead, much to the benefit of the world.
This thread was a classic illustration of what generally happens when people discuss craft beers on the intertubes. For obvious reasons, nobody wanted to defend the actual argument being made by the article under discussion — i.e. “Craft breweries should avoid making their best-selling beers because Tom Freidman’s apocryphal
cab driver craft beer fanatic found a mild 30 IBU saison ‘too hoppy.’” So, instead, we got reiterations of some banal points, most notably the indisputable point that hoppier does not always equal better. And, yes, yes, there are some craft brewers that add excessive hops as a botched gimmick, proving that IPAs can be screwed up just like any other style. And I suppose there are beer snobs who look down on people who don’t primarily drink very hop-forward IPAs; I’ve never personally met a beer snob who looks contemptuously when someone orders a porter or trippel, but, hell, it’s a big country, I’m sure they exist somewhere. And…so what? I turn things over to djw:
What he meant, of course, was “I don’t like ESBs”. It’s true of even the most ecumenical beer drinkers with wide-ranging taste that there’s some style they don’t like. Myself, I don’t care for Hefeweizens. But unlike this silly article, I’m careful to recognize that drawing broad conclusions about the appropriate direction for an entire industry from my own tastes is probably not a good idea.
There’s something weird about the way people who don’t care for hop-forward beers to infer all manner of strange things from this. People who don’t like wheat beers, or stouts, or hefeweizens, or whatever, generally avoid drinking them and call it good, whereas people who don’t care for hop-forward styles are rarely content with such a simple, straightforward approach. The “bigger is better” accusation is particularly absurd. Like most fans of the Imperial IPA style, I find some 100+ IBU hop-bombs sublimely well balanced, and others a one-note throat punch of a beer. I wouldn’t expect people who don’t care for hop-forward flavor profiles to be able to tell the difference, for the same reason I’m not good at distinguishing between a mediocre hefeweizen and an excellent one. But, crucially, I don’t deny that such a distinction is impossible to make about hefeweizens.
I’ve never understood what problem such arguments are supposed to be addressing. There are vastly more good beers available in all styles than there were 10, let alone 20, years ago. The preference that some beer snobs have for IPAs hasn’t diminished the availability of other styles of beers. So what are people kicking about? For people who don’t like pilsners to repent and admit their false consciousness? I don’t get it.
Speaking of excellent craft brews, I don’t know how often they put them on, but if you ever have a chance to attend one of these Dogfish Head nights, they’re strongly recommended. In a musical theme, I was able to try both the Bitches Brew and the Hellhound on my Ale (the latter of which I had never tried in a bottle), both of which are superb. Of what I was able to sample from the rest of the table, the Burton Baton was especially fine. (I was tempted to try Dogfish’s barleywine, but had too much work to do this weekend.)
And, finally, I would like to present the following exhaustive list of circumstances under which a pub that doesn’t have dancing should play recorded music at volumes high enough to drown out any conversation:
None. There are no such circumstances.
I look forward to the contrarian article about how when you sit down for a beer with friends there’s nothing more awesome than having to yell to not even be able to make yourself heard.
…and, yes, as noted in comments this applies with perhaps even greater force to coffee shops, although I’ve never encountered it outside of Astoria.
Cool article on the 1913 barbers’ strike in New York, which led to the reduction of barbers’ workweeks from 92(!!!) hours to a mere 62 with Sunday off.
I may have to explore this in more detail in the labor history series.
This is an interesting piece about apparel corporations looking to get out of Bangladesh because of the bad publicity the building collapse has given the companies. They want to move to Cambodia, Vietnam, and the new frontier of Indonesia. What’s telling about it is that the corporations have zero interest in actually improving conditions for Bangladeshis. For all the talk (including by liberals) about how we need to keep outsourcing the jobs to countries with dangerous working conditions because the companies are providing them work, there is no commitment at all to keeping those people employed. While it might be a good thing that companies want to avoid multi-story factories with the potential to kill over 1100 workers like in Bangladesh, rather than work with Bangladesh to improve conditions or take some responsibility, instead they just want to bail on the country entirely because it might make them look bad to western customers.
Under normal circumstances, 2 workers dying in a Cambodian roof collapse wouldn’t make the news at all, which makes accidents in single-story buildings acceptable to corporations. Right now, if the linked article is accurate, there are some positive things in Indonesia, with contractors having to offer health insurance to attract scarce workers, but I am skeptical of the long-term continuance of such practices if Indonesia becomes a fully mobilized apparel economy with the plethora of workers that has allowed for low wages in other nations.
This issue also gets at the comments in the Cambodia workplace death thread, which were not unusual in their ultimate acquiescence in a spatially mobile capitalism. The only way capital has ever granted safer working conditions is to damage the bottom line. Workers’ compensation laws in the United States happened after workers began winning lawsuits for damages, forcing companies to create a rational system of low compensation to avoid expensive payouts. Corporations stopped dumping chemicals when OSHA and EPA created civil and criminal penalties for violators, minimal as they may have been. Capital mobility across the globe is not “natural.” Rather it is a process encouraged by the governments of the corporations’ home nations. Capital moved to pay lower wages, to reinstitute unsafe workplaces, to dump poisons into rivers and air, all of which increased profits. It is true that calling for international standards where workers around the world could sue corporations in the country of corporate origin for unsafe conditions and environmental degradation would lessen capital mobility, but I hardly see this as a bad thing.
We might ask, “What about the Bangladeshi worker!” if we lessened the incentives for race to the bottom capital mobility, but a) as the flight from Bangladesh shows, capital doesn’t care about that worker anyway, b) a job is a job no matter where it is–there is a great need for work in the United States, Cambodia, Bangladesh, wherever, c) we could create a system with some differentiation in conditions but that still protected basic worker safety and stopped grotesque pollution, both of which are very inexpensive to implement, and d) companies are more than welcome to stay in Bangladesh or Honduras or Vietnam and commit to long-term investments there that will help bring workers out of poverty. We rightfully say that these nations have laws on the books but because of corruption or indifference or violence they aren’t enforced. Allowing foreign workers access to international courts is one way to help solve these problems. The idea that enforcing safety in Cambodia is “impossible” is no different than saying that enforcing safety in Gilded Age American factories was impossible. It’s a process and there are issues of corruption, but of course it is possible, especially if the corporations in charge of the whole process want it enforced. If you want to see conditions in these factories improve fast, a couple of successful lawsuits against Gap or Asics is a pretty likely way to make that happen.
A good rule of thumb about country music is that when the singer starts talking, something weird is about to happen. When it is about morality or politics, you know the song is a winner.
Annoyed at Obama’s ability to almost be able govern under great restraint, Republicans have decided to blame him for everything that happens under his watch. “Deranged” liberals blamed the Bush administration when prominent members of it achieved their long stated goals, but that’s different because conservatives agreed with those goals. You can’t blame Bush for what Cheney and Rumsfeld said they’d do in 1997 because that’s “deranged” thinking that they didn’t have anything to do with anyway. It just so happened to accord with their stated wishes.
But blaming Obama for what happened in an IRS office in Ohio? That’s just logical. Because Obama’s not Bush, he knows all and sees all, which is why we’re being treated to this:
Obama’ll do it! Don’t you doubt him! I’m not saying that Republicans are about to ignore everything that happened between 2000 and 2008 and be so cynical as to impeach a Democratic president for some piddly thing after allowing their guy to run roughshod over the Constitution for eight years … but they’ve done this before and they’re this desperate again. If the administration doesn’t get on the offensive Obama might find himself being impeached because his signature on something is unclear and so maybe it was forged by an underling who was ordered by Eric Holder to obey the will of Obama and saw the Eye Biden borrowed and knew he didn’t want to be its next victim.
Because this week we entered into a Zone of Conspiracy the likes of which we haven’t seen since the last time Republicans felt this powerless. I’m not a gambling man, but if I were I’d bet that the next person to die a statistically probable death and have some relation to this administration will become FOX’s next cause célèbre. Because Obama knows all and sees all, especially including anything that can be used against him. So you better be good or …