Pigs Fly; Satan Cuts Ribbon on Hell’s Newest Ski Lift…

…and Bobo makes sense.

…in the middle of this golden age of behavioral research, there is a bill working through Congress that would eliminate the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences. This is exactly how budgets should not be balanced — by cutting cheap things that produce enormous future benefits

….

People are complicated. We each have multiple selves, which emerge or don’t depending on context. If we’re going to address problems, we need to understand the contexts and how these tendencies emerge or don’t emerge. We need to design policies around that knowledge. Cutting off financing for this sort of research now is like cutting off navigation financing just as Christopher Columbus hit the shoreline of the New World.

Maybe this is just a case of a blind pig finding its once-a-year acorn…

__

…or perhaps (we live in hope) David Brooks has finally noticed that the party he’s been touting for years is on a catastrophic mission to destroy America, a quest that depends, in part, on ensuring we never, ever put ourselves in the way of learning inconvenient truths about the world.

I do hope it is the latter.  These are parlous times, and I’ll welcome even the latest of late-comers to the fray.  If I were a betting man, though, I’d guess we’ll see a reversion to the BoBo mean by early next week — but even so, we have a few days to bask at the glow of David Brooks saying something useful.

Image:  Gustave Courbet, Peasants from Flagey Returning from market, 1850






61 replies
  1. 1
    Alan says:

    He is literally talking his book—one thing Republicans are very good at.

  2. 2
    gbear says:

    All of my selves blame Obama.

  3. 3
    srv says:

    I think he’s going senile.

  4. 4
    mattH says:

    .or perhaps (we live in hope) David Brooks has finally noticed that the party he’s been touting for years is on a catastrophic mission to destroy America, a quest that depends, in part, on ensuring we never, ever put ourselves in the way of learning inconvenient truths about the world.

    He’s still not there yet. Heard his schtik on NPR today. I would go so far ast to say he’s still not in line with old conservative values. It’s going to take more.

  5. 5
    JonF says:

    *curls up in the fetal position and begins to sob quietly* I don’t want to live in a world where I’ve agreed with two of bobo’s columns in a week.

  6. 6
    Tom Levenson says:

    @mattH at 4:

    H

    e’s still not there yet. Heard his schtik on NPR today. I would go so far ast to say he’s still not in line with old conservative values. It’s going to take more.

    Ah well. Missed the broadcast, which is good, as NPR’s lazy thinking and toothless interviewing has been giving me the pip lately, but I can’t say that I’m surprised to learn BoBo’s habits die hard.

  7. 7
    David Fud says:

    Alan hit it on the head. He realizes via the scientists he ripped off that had they not been supported via the NSF, there would be no money for Bobo.

    He’s protecting his golden goose. Even a blind pig knows when you don’t fill their slop bin.

  8. 8
    Mike Kay ( Geronimo!!) says:

    why do front pagers on this blog care about bobo’s writings?

    I’ll welcome even the latest of late-comers to the fray.

    if he were to switch sides, he would lose his column with the Times. He’s only there, so they can say, “look, we have balance” to their reactionary corporate advertisers.

  9. 9
    beltane says:

    See, David Brooks admits he has two selves. One of these selves is capable of rare instances of intellectual honesty. Too bad all his other selves are conservative hacks.

  10. 10

    Perhaps someone is lacing his feed?

    If so, here’s hoping that someone continues to do so.

  11. 11
    beltane says:

    My local community radio station carries Democracy Now, Free Speech Radio, etc. Now I don’t care if I ever listen to NPR again.

  12. 12
    kdaug says:

    Meh. Chaff flying off an incoming asteroid.

    Bobo ain’t an asshole conservative (then again, Mark Shield’s no leftist either), but they will burn off on entry.

    Just don’t get a sense of duplicity from Brooks – strikes me as an earnest, if misguided, guy.

  13. 13
    lacp says:

    Of course he doesn’t want funding cut for something he finds useful. Sensible budget-balancing makes old retirees eat catfood and young workers eat shit.

  14. 14
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    My positions on the Bobos of the world is that if they say something good, take it and run with it. (“Even the conservative David Brooks says that…), and if they say something dumb, ignore/mock/correct/whatever. I’m no fan of Brooks, but I’m still confused as to why he inspires so much hatred. I’d rather have a hundred Bobos than one Rush Limbaugh or Andrew Breitbart.

  15. 15
    joeyess says:

    While mowing the lawn today, I was pondering our Galtian overlords and their plans for America. I came up with one irrefutable truth about them, whether they be religious conservatives, fiscal, neo, or simply teabagger freshmen in the House and that truth is that while they’re tearing down a safety net that has been in place for more than 1/2 of a century, they will also run against Democrats from the left while the destruction is under way. Then after the dismantling has taken place and the wrecking ball is safely packed away in the tool shed, they will run from the right when anyone tries to rebuild what has been lost. “tax and spend liberals!” they will shout and the game will continue on. To my point though, the irrefutable truth that I’ve realized is that none of this will play out in the time I have left on this mortal coil and I’ll never see the endgame. All I’ll see is the suffering. All I’ll witness is the endless gamesmanship and jockeying for endless elections. I hope that decent and caring leaders emerge and this hackneyed, know-nothing crowd of current douchenozzles that currently make up the conservative movement in this country is finally laughed into the dustbin of history and marginalized to the point of a few nutcases standing on step ladders on the street corners shouting inanities into the ether. Regretfully, Obama didn’t take the opportunity to make the case that conservatism has failed utterly. He could have. He could have driven home the message that the conservative movement has been a disaster. Instead, he listened to the wrong people. He thought he could compromise. He was wrong and I’m relegated to watching a slow motion train wreck.

    I’m sad.

  16. 16
    gex says:

    Behavioral studies. Which he can later slaughter by “interpreting” them for his readers. All pointing out about how our overlords ARE indeed better than the rest of us.

  17. 17
    El Cid says:

    GOP’s House says good-bye to the Hubble’s successor, the James Webb space telescope.

    WASHINGTON — Congressional backers of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are preparing to defend the flagship NASA science mission against House budget hawks who intend to pull the plug on the project as part of a broad swath of NASA budget cuts unveiled July 6.
    __
    The proposal to kill JWST is included in the NASA portion of a 2012 spending bill that cleared the House Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee July 7.
    __
    Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), the subcommittee’s chairman, gave no explanation for the cut during the hour-long markup session that preceded a voice vote to send the bill to the full committee for consideration July 13.
    __
    But in a statement released ahead of the markup, appropriators said they were denying funding for JWST because the program “is billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management.”

    We just can’t afford it in these difficult times when struggling heiresses might one day be taxed on their inherited wealth.

    And if there’s one thing the GOP won’t put up with, it’s poor management.

    George W. Bush Jr. & Dick Cheney protected us from the ‘Goresat’ which would have been the first whole-Earth planetary observation system located in the fixed-orbit Lagrange (L-2 if I recall) position, since it would have been all ‘here’s global warming’ and other faggz shit.

    All the science I needed to learn I learned from kindergarten when my friend’s Mom talked about Genesis on the ride to a ball game.

    What with these cost overruns, it’s not like we’re throwing disappearing pallets of cash to the tunes of tens of billions of dollars into some foreign nation like Iraq.

    Here’s some information about this Kenyonesian secularist progressive nonsense program if you have to fucking have it.

    The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST) will be a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. The project is working to a 2018 launch date.
    __
    The Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.
    __
    Webb was formerly known as the “Next Generation Space Telescope” (NGST); it was renamed in Sept. 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.
    __
    Webb is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is managing the development effort. The prime contractor is Northrop Grumman; the Space Telescope Science Institute will operate Webb after launch.
    __
    Several innovative technologies have been developed for Webb. These include a folding, segmented primary mirror, adjusted to shape after launch; ultra-lightweight beryllium optics; detectors able to record extremely weak signals, microshutters that enable programmable object selection for the spectrograph; and a cryocooler for cooling the mid-IR detectors to 7K.
    __
    The long-lead items, such as the beryllium mirror segments and science instruments, are under construction. All mission enabling technologies were demonstrated by January 2007. In July 2008 NASA confirmed the Webb project to proceed into its implementation phase, and the project conducted a major mission review in March 2010.

    All you need to know was that Yurrup was involved. Heh!

  18. 18
    Joseph Nobles says:

    I’m sure any shortfall from eliminating these programs can be made up by the “Body Language” segment of “The O’Reilly Factor.”

  19. 19
    Tom Levenson says:

    @El Cid at #16: Yup. I was going to write this one up earlier today — the real frustration of seeing all the billions sunk down the rat hole of the Int’l Space Station, leaving no slack for the Webb telescope. It’s not like the Hubble has done anything of value I guess…

  20. 20
    Zach says:

    This is probably the only part of the NSF I’d support cutting because it’d stop giving David Brooks fodder for his idiotic books.

  21. 21
    El Cid says:

    Bobo can’t pretend to be the nation’s pre-eminent fake sociologist if there aren’t studies he can pretend to base his conclusions on.

    That said, this is an awesome critique of irresponsible budget-cutting from such a common-sense conservative who was almost literally jacking off about Mitch Daniels just a month or two ago.

    People are complicated. We each have multiple selves, which emerge or don’t depending on context. If we’re going to address problems, we need to understand the contexts and how these tendencies emerge or don’t emerge.

    How many selves emerge when one knows how to act cool & popular at the Applebee’s salad bar?

  22. 22
    Tom Levenson says:

    @gex at #15:

    Behavioral studies. Which he can later slaughter by “interpreting” them for his readers. All pointing out about how our overlords ARE indeed better than the rest of us.

    There is that. And it’s absolutely true. But the point he makes is still valid: it is beyond dumb to cut cheap things that pay outsize benefits. Especially when folks go to the mat to defend accelerated depreciation of corporate jets.

  23. 23
    dr. bloor says:

    Think pig and acorn, not insight. Bobo fancies himself as an astute observer of society, a social psychologist born not trained, if you will. This is a personal hobby horse, not wisdom.

  24. 24
    Yutsano says:

    It’s not like the Hubble has done anything of value I guess…

    Does it show any of those science-type thingies outside of the Bible? Yup? Trash the fucker. All the science you ever need to know is in the Good Book. All else is Satan’s work.

    Also, the Islamofascistkenyanusurper likes it, so it must be bad.

    /wingnut

  25. 25
    gex says:

    @16 – Hmm… couldn’t the same things be said about missile defense, only more so?

    @21 – It is a good point. It just makes me very sad what he does with the research. I mean, his mangled interpretations of the research just so happen to coincide with his gut hunches. Go figure. But at least the science would be there for serious people (not to be confused with Very Serious People).

  26. 26
    Bobbo says:

    He’s praising a program because it’s cheap!

    Get back to me when he says Social Security is cheap for the value it brings and we should be talking about lowering the retirement age rather than raising it.

    Then maybe I’ll care what Bobo has to say about anything at all ever.

  27. 27
    Dexter says:

    May be Rupert Murdoch’s trouble in UK is scaring Bobo so much that he is starting to make sense. Also, the nightmare of a debt default is probably not helping him at all.

  28. 28
    jl says:

    WP has been eating my comments. Will try again.

    People should take a look at their homepage. They do a lot of interesting things. Paste the name into google and take a look.

    Edit: WP doesn’t like something about their homepage URL. Let’s try this

    www dot nsf dot gov/dir/index dot jsp?org=SBE

  29. 29
    driftglass says:

    I believe Our Mr. Brooks is suffering from a tragic case of TIFO. (from “Rough Winds Did Shake the Randite Dudes of May…”) http://bit.ly/q4WJZj

  30. 30
    MikeJ says:

    @beltane:

    My local community radio station carries Democracy Now, Free Speech Radio, etc. Now I don’t care if I ever listen to NPR again.

    Might I ask where you are that you have a community radio station? I volunteered at a community station, my first radio gig before going pro, and many of them don’t carry syndicated content, with a few exceptions.

  31. 31
    Linnaeus says:

    I’m an historian of science – SBE is the directorate we typically go to if we want NSF funding. Not saying that my field is special or anything, but if SBE goes, more projects than people think will be defunded.

  32. 32
    jl says:

    They do about only comprehensive surveys of technical capability and activity of engineering and science research centers and activities in U.S., but gov, private and academic.

    Human robotics interface research.

    Research on statistical methods.

    More than just funding social psych and cognitive science stuff that Brooks’ uses for his columns.

    Industry won’t like losing those. Probably transfer them to other parts of NSF.

  33. 33
    beltane says:

    @MikeJ

    I’m in Vermont. Our new community station is an expansion of the Goddard College station. A lot of the locals volunteer; my husband is thinking of doing an evening of trance music.

    After listening to Amy Goodman, I don’t think I’d be able to tolerate more than five minutes of Some Things Considered.

  34. 34
    Marginalized for stating documented facts says:

    David Brooks doesn’t have any real power, though. The big problem right now is that Barack Obama is spouting David-Brooks-esque gibberish (viz., Obama’s provably false claim that the federal budget is just like a family budget, and that it makes good economic sense to cut back when you get into financial trouble)– and Obama has actual influence on policy.

    Not only that…Obama’s appointees are spewing exactly the same crazy David-Brooks-like nonsense.

    As Paul Krugman notes:

    Meanwhile, the current NEC director, Gene Sperling, is spouting right-wing talking points, essentially claiming that you can do the opposite of what macro 101 says you should do, and the confidence fairy will make everything OK.

    But by all means, let’s post rant after rant against David Brooks, and say nothing substantive to criticize Barack Obama, because…after all, David Brooks is the real power in Washington, right?

    Sheesh.

  35. 35
    bago says:

    I’ll work an extra hour a week for a telescope of high fidelity. Not so much for something as crude as oil.
    Hell, give me venusian Landers!

  36. 36
    Sly says:

    I don’t expect much from a man who imagines conversations on present issues held between two men who have been dead for over two centuries and deems it robust political analysis. This is the kind of shit that makes a professional historian bash their head against a wall.

    Quick! Let’s ask David Hume what he thinks of the Home Affordable Modification Program! And let’s get John Stuart Mill’s opinion on Cash for Clunkers!

  37. 37
    bago says:

    Hell, why don’t we have multiple Landers on every planet? Seriously, it’s 2011. I expect better from this planet.

  38. 38
    burnspbesq says:

    It has long been my view that there is some strange, incorporeal alien being that shows up periodically, at times and for reasons known only to itself, takes over Bobo’s brain, and causes him to make sense. This must be one of those weeks.

  39. 39
    kdaug says:

    @bago:

    Hell, give me venusian Landers!

    Ah, now, see – that sulfuric acid rain’s a bitch.

    Guess we could consider it a short-term investment, but it’s a damn hard sell for something that’s gonna dissolve after a month or two.

  40. 40
    MikeJ says:

    @beltane:

    After listening to Amy Goodman, I don’t think I’d be able to tolerate more than five minutes of Some Things Considered.

    My gripe with Goodman is that I still remember her complaining about the Clinton era sanctions on Iraq. Containment seemed to work pretty well, and at the very least least, better than invasion.

  41. 41
    jl says:

    Did you know that the atheist commie, Jefferson, is planning to waste money sending an expedition out into the wilderness, to look for mammoth bones? What a waste.

    Hell, did you know the government is wasting money trying to develop a ‘thinking machine’? It takes half a dozen people plugging wires all day to make the thing add. Well, my friends, I can add faster than that right now in my head, and I was not that good at math in school.

    Did you know that the corrupt lush and race equilizer Grant, is sending out people to find out how much gravity changes around the country? What a waste. Why, my friends, Let me tell you I have dropped apples and whatnot on both coasts, and I can tell you, they drop just the same in both places. I demand an investigation.

    Did you know the government hired some environmentalist kook, Moore or something, to go out and make a map of the Nevada and Utah desert, what the hell is out there, anyway? Mormons, that’s who. Some kind of slush fund.

  42. 42
    Groucho48 says:

    Generally, when a right winger comes out in favor of something that is against right wing ideology it is because that program has a positive influence on his family. That’s about as far as their limited empathy can stretch. I suspect something like that is going on here.

  43. 43
    beltane says:

    @MikeJ

    That’s a legitimate gripe. But when I compare that to the multiple gripes I have against Mara Liasson and Cokie Roberts and the rest of the NPR crowd, I realize it is something I can deal with.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    kdaug says:

    @kdaug:

    that sulfuric acid rain’s a bitch.

    I stand self-corrected: the Russian Venera 9 found ~30-mile-thick clouds of hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, bromine, and iodine. In 1975.

    Don’t reckon we need to head back anytime soon.

  46. 46
    catclub says:

    The same old Bobo schtick on NPR: Bobo _loves_ the shock doctrine.
    He was just so happy that there is a train wreck coming and that ‘we are having an adult conversation’ – which seems to mean lots of cuts for useful parts of government. No time for democracy to work – just the big bosses telling what must be done NOW. The way he likes it.

  47. 47
    kdaug says:

    @jl: You’re a very funny person, JL. But you forgot volcano monitoring.

  48. 48
    jl says:

    I forgot about Hollerith.

    My friends, did you know the government is paying some guy to keep records by punching holes in cards? What a waste. Why can’t the damn government write things down like the poor taxpayers of this country do? I suppose government workers are so lazy and incompetent that all they can do is punch holes in a piece of paper. Taking the trouble to write something down is beyond them.

    Forgot about Hamilton.

    Did you know that Mr. High and Mighty Washington is paying Hamilton to figure out money. Hell, the egghead is learning himself about Chinee money on our tax dollars. As far as I can tell we have money right now. I think I managed to buy something with perfectly good doubloons this morning.

    Did you know that the Department of Agriculture has been paying some fool named Deming to figure out how to measure quality. Let me tell you, my friends, does the government think the American people are so stupid they can’t tell what quality is? I can pick out a good product, and anyone else can just as well as Mr. Dummy, or whatever his name is. The guy’s ideas are so kooky, no one will listen to him here and he’s gone off to Japan. Japan? Quality? Another example of government waste.

    OK, I will quit now. But jeez… a person could spin examples all night. Pathetic stuff going in this country. Crazy people have control of half our legislature.

    Edit: Sorry about no volcano monitoring. I have to stop, I feel madness (or, more madness from the POV of the uncharitable), coming on. I gotta go drinking. Probably a lot.

  49. 49
    El Cid says:

    Hey, Southern Sudan becomes an independent nation, but it’s not important, because it resulted only through many years of negotiation by a bunch of people who worked on the ground and came to agreements with the murderous government along with peacekeeping operations and as much humanitarian assistance as possible.

    See, it would only have been a good thing had a bunch of loudmouth idiots demanding Western military intervention blowing the shit out of the situation gotten what they wanted thereby making it worse, so that we could prove once again that too many hippies don’t have the guts to do the right thing.

  50. 50
    El Cid says:

    Goodman was just all het up about Iraq sanctions because so many people were dying, for silly things like denying water purifying and chlorination equipment, because if you didn’t do that Saddam would have re-invaded Kuwait because he just would have.

  51. 51
    dogwood says:

    Joyess @14: I’m sad too. My father was an Eisenhower Republican, I never heard him whine too much about taxes or small government or “liberty”. He was a Republican because he valued order above all else. The GOP was the party that would prevent chaos, instability and uncertainty when things were shaky. If he were alive to see this Republican party deliberately create chaos, unrest and disorder without even a hint of a noble purpose (the right to choose your own light bulbs wouldn’t have cut it with him), he’d be appalled. And sad too.

  52. 52
    MikeJ says:

    @El Cid:

    because if you didn’t do that Saddam would have re-invaded Kuwait because he just would have.

    This part is probably true.

  53. 53
    kdaug says:

    @jl:

    Edit: Sorry about no volcano monitoring. I have to stop, I feel madness (or, more madness from the POV of the uncharitable), coming on. I gotta go drinking. Probably a lot.

    Go. Drink. With luck, we’ll still be here tomorrow.

  54. 54
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Did you know that the government, against the advice of the private sector experts of the Bell system, are going to try to get computers to be able to exchange information over telephone lines? It’s preposterous!

  55. 55
    Marginalized for stating documented facts says:

    Dogwood:

    My father was an Eisenhower Republican, I never heard him whine too much about taxes or small government or “liberty”. He was a Republican because he valued order above all else. The GOP was the party that would prevent chaos, instability and uncertainty when things were shaky.

    The Republicans of Eisenhower’s day were a very different animal from today’s Republicans. Eisenhower Republicans would be shunned by Democrats today as “trolls” and “firebaggers” and “Jane-Hamsher-type crazies.”

  56. 56
    El Cid says:

    It is not “probably true” that Saddam would have re-invaded Kuwait, and it takes sheer dedication to imagine the re-awakening of a zombie army piloting non-existent heavy equipment to do so. Amazing.

  57. 57
    Nic says:

    @JohnF #5

    curls up in the fetal position and begins to sob quietly I don’t want to live in a world where I’ve agreed with two of bobo’s columns in a week.

    ..Right?!

  58. 58
    Joel says:

    This acorn happened to be on a tree that David Brooks considers part of his own property. Obviously, based on his book, he loves behavioral research, even if he doesn’t really understand it.

    This is why health-related researchers do not sweat nearly as much as say.. ecology and environmental ones.

  59. 59
    dan says:

    Brooks didn’t say “Republicans”, he said “there is a bill working through Congress that would eliminate …”

    So as not to indicate that the Repubs are pushing this. So pig/acorn/douchebag.

  60. 60
    Korea Beat says:

    Brooks is against these cuts only because behaviorial science is is something he personally likes. If it were any other scientific research, or Medicare or Social Security or anything else useful, he would be cheering it.

  61. 61

    […] I should know better.  Yesterday I made the obvious error of suggesting that maybe, just maybe, David Brooks iz lerning. […]

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