Oct 19



@Earth_Pics: A walrus was discovered asleep atop a Russian submarine today.


We must not allow a walrus gap!



@Earth_Pics: A walrus was discovered asleep atop a Russian submarine today.


We must not allow a walrus gap!

"Outsourcing Excellence"

I’ve been paying limited attention to the outsourcing kerfluffle in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race between Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker. Basically Coakley’s campaign has been parroting this line about how Charlie Baker “won the award for outsourcing jobs” or something like that.

I get that this is a reasonably effective line of attack against a guy who claims he’ll create jobs in the state. Baker will better care of the rich folks’ money than he will take care of the working folks. Etc.

But “won the award for outsourcing”? Why not just say that when he was a chief executive he sent a bunch of jobs over seas? Why use this clunky metaphorical language about “winning the award” for outsourcing?

It turns out that it’s not metaphorical language. There is literally an Outsourcing Excellence Award. And Charlie Baker won it. From the Outsourcing Center. And he showed up to the ceremony. In a tuxedo. And posed. With his Outsourcing Excellence Award.

(I’m not saying you should vote against Baker because he won an Outsourcing Award—or because posing with an award that says “Outsourcing Excellence” while wearing a tuxedo shows a dramatic lack of foresight. Vote against him because he wants to slash public assistance and seems to want to deregulate everything to allow the same types of reckless corporate behavior that caused the recession. There are plenty of reasons to vote against Baker or for Coakley. But not many are as hilarious as the Outsourcing Excellence Award.)

Oct 18

Cookie cutters are awesome.

Cookie cutters are awesome.

“Look, we served our country, and we served the guys next to us. And it’s not something to brag about.” — Seth W. Moulton, the Democratic nominee for Congress in Massachusetts’ Sixth Congressional District, who did not publicly disclose that he was twice decorated for heroism as a Marine until it was uncovered by the Boston Globe. (via englishprof)

German dadaist party offer to save Ukip group in European parliament -

Politics | theguardian.com

Oct 17

Of Gamers, Gates, and Disco Demolition: The Roots of Reactionary Rage - The Daily Beast -

I’m not scared of desperately uncool cultural reactionaries like Jack Thompson or anti-witchcraft Harry Potter burners. I’m scared of the people who do hold cultural power, who have the loud voice, who are, in fact, the cool kids, but think they’re embattled underdogs. I’m scared of the people who think that because disco was “taking over music” they had the right to “fight back” bullying and attacking disco performers and fans.

Oct 16

Martha Coakley

Massachusetts is going to have a tough election. The Democrat, Coakley, is a pretty crappy campaigner. You know how Obama got zinged for waxing professorial and actually answering questions like a competent person who knows things? Coakley is worse.

Bad campaigner. But a highly competent Attorney General and she will be a highly competent governor.

There are progressives who pay lipservice to progressive ideas. Some of them doubtlessly believe them. “Singlepayer healthcare tomorrow and stop global warming the next day!” Great. But … do you have any idea how to turn that slogan into reality?

Coakley isn’t much for catch phrases.1 But she’s tirelessly fought for the least advantaged in Massachusetts in ways that have made a tangible difference to people across the Commonwealth. Once the election is over, I care a whole lot more about competence than campaign charisma.

  1. Baker’s slogan seems to be, “Let’s Be Great, Massachusetts!” As far as I can tell, Coakley’s is “Martha Coakley for Governor.” 

“There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.” — Judge Richard A. Posner (via azspot)

(via azspot)

Oct 12

On Vision and Governance

What does a competent government look like?

Answering this question coherently should be a threshold question for anybody running for office. I think the Republican candidates, increasingly, lack a serious answer to the question.

Joking that there is no such thing as competent governance betrays a distressing lack of vision without actually answering the question. Regurgitating that the best government is a small government also avoids the question of what the small government should look like. I’m all for limiting government’s role where appropriate—but even a limited government needs to be led competently.

If you’re asking to be elected as a government official but believe everything in the government is, at best, inefficient and wasteful, you’ve set a disqualifyingly low bar for yourself. If you want to remove a tumor, you could hire a butcher or a surgeon. Both are great at making incisions. If you want the patient to survive, go with the surgeon.

Oct 11

A Con in Two Acts

I have some sympathy for the libertarians criticizing “corporate welfare.” Nobody wants to divert public resources to private profit. But … the folks most aggressively pushing the “corporate welfare” criticism are the same folks pushing privatization of public functions.

"I don’t want to eliminate public education. I just think we should give those resources to private companies. Because, um, reasons."

"Wait, why are we spending public money to prop up all these private education corporations? This is a waste of taxpayer dollars!"