Long since passed understanding what it takes to be satisfied

I don’t mean this in a “who will rid me of this meddlesome pundit kind of way” but convincing elites to act responsibly is the key problem in our current political predicament and I don’t know how to do it. Atrios:

Elites need to earn their respect, especially elites who face neither voters nor any other realistic check on potential corruption and hackery. Frankly about the only realistic check on the power of Supremos is their potential concern that people on the internets might be mean to them in furious blog posts. If elites want us to respect elite institutions they should do a better job of policing their own. Instead they try to police us.

Steve M:

Gallup’s “Confidence in Institutions” survey shows dreadful numbers for banks, and for big business in general. Notice those guys suffering? The Wall Streeters whine as if they’re suffering, but mostly what they say when they whine is, in effect, “We want all the money and respect!”

That’s pretty much what we may hear from the Supremes, or at least from the chief justice. Cohn mentions John Roberts’s “frequently professed concern for the court’s respectability.” But he seems to be oblivious to the fact that he’s lost that already. (As I’ve noted before, a recent Bloomberg poll showed that 75% of Americans expect the Court to issue a health care ruling based on political concerns.) The actual rulings show no signs of circumspection — Roberts apparently wants your respect in spite of those rulings.

Until we Americans start actually finding ways to hurt powerful people we despise, it’s going to continue to be good to be the hated king.

I’m not sure it has to be all stick and no carrot. I’m happy to have parades in Jamie Dimon’s honor and (gulp) even Bobo’s honor if I they start doing things that help our society, instead of destroying it. But what do they want? I don’t know. I can’t fathom having that kind of money and caring about more, not because I’m some awesome altruist, but because I don’t like thinking about money and if I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t.

And if what they want isn’t so simple, what do they fear? The eventual beheading of Luke Clinton-Kristol in 2060 is too far into the future to scare anyone too much, IMHO.

Somewhere in my youth or childhood

I heard the Lauryn Hill song “Every Ghetto, Every City” while I was riding the train yesterday and it got me thinking: what’s the best song ever about looking back on childhood? I’ll go with “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder, but I also like the Van Morrison song “Take Me Back” (especially the whacked out version JLL does in “Georgia”, as awful as it is). What else is good?

Please, don’t mention that Nickelback song “Photograph”, not even as a joke. There’s nothing funny about an existential threat.

Dazed And Confused

Greg Sargent asks why Mitt Romney is embracing the Paul Ryan Jump Off The Cliff economic plan so tightly.

Ryan fires up the base on both sides like nothing else, which is why Republicans like Romney want him in the role of hero, and Dems want him in the role of villain. But what about swing voters? Dems seem confident that the Ryan vision is absolutely toxic among them. And yet, as Jed Lewison notes, Republicans seem equally confident that Ryan’s radical vision — or “bold,” if you prefer — is a political winner this fall.

Nonpartisan observers say Ryan’s plans amount to a huge giveaway to the rich at the expense of exploding the deficit. Polls suggest that huge majorities favor preserving Medicare’s traditional function, and reject Ryan’s reforms. And yet the amount of influence Republicans have accorded to Ryan over the GOP’s fiscal policies, worldview, ideology, vision, priorities and direction is really kind of extraordinary. They’re going for it.

They’re going for it Greg because they’re counting on your employers at Kaplan, Inc. and the other Village media outlets to sell the Ryan Plan as not only morally desirable but absolutely necessary economically over the next several months and well beyond.  It worked for the Bush tax cuts and Medicare drug benefit giveaway.  It worked for Afghanistan and especially Iraq.  Those cost us trillions but were sold as the right thing to do.

The Ryan/Romney Austerity Plan will be no different.  It will be the reason why, should the GOP gain control of the Senate, that the filibuster will be done away with and the President will get a nice shiny austerity budget.  Selling that Romney will sign such a budget into law will be the big talking point.

Meanwhile, austerity is destroying the EU and UK right now.  All indications are they are back into a recession with no real hope of getting out.  These guys want to make sure we’re next.

This Week in Local Races

It’s been a while since we discussed local races, so here’s a thread for that. Usually at this time of the year, we have a few good primary challenges, a lot of fundraising, and hopefully somebody says something dumb enough that it will make a good campaign commercial later this Fall.

Here’s my report: In Western New York, Kathy Hochul, the Democrat who won the special election after transgender-curious Chris Lee resigned, got some good news this week. Republican Chris Collins’ primary challenger, Tea Partier and Iraq war hero David Bellavia, is going to be backed by a SuperPAC financed by Jack Davis. Davis is an anti-immigration zealot with deep pockets who’s run as a Republican and a Democrat to get Hochul’s seat in the new NY-27. That’s good news for Hochul since Collins will get beaten up in the Republican primary by a well-financed challenger, and because Bellavia might get the nod from one of the minor parties and split the vote in the general.

Other than that, all New York Democrats got a little help from Bob Turner, the guy who won the special election for Anthony Weiner’s old seat. Turner voted for the Ryan budget a few months after he made a campaign promise not to vote for it. Whenever a moderate Republican like Collins or his doppelganger in Rochester’s NY-25 race, Maggie Brooks, promises to vote against their party, Turner’s vote will come back to haunt them.

What’s happening near where you live? I’m still looking for good local blogs, so post those, too.

Culture War 101

Rush Limbaugh has started the predictable “I’m back” media blitz, with this Howie Kurtz piece and a Washington Post story, both claiming that ratings are up and his losses are in the mere single digits.

Rush’s real ratings aren’t out yet, but let’s give a known liar the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s right, because the people who were listening to Rush, or were inclined to listen to Rush, aren’t going to give a shit about a boycott or what he said about Sandra Fluke. And, as planned from the start, Rush’s “barter” ads, which were suspended for two weeks, are back. Those are ads that local stations have to run during the Limbaugh show in order to get access to Rush’s show.

Doug Mataconis–who is to stupid as Foxconn is to Apple: a reliable supplier–thinks this means that the boycott has failed and that it was dangerous to start it in the first place. Maybe there was some smack-talk about Rush getting off the air during the height of the boycott, but I don’t remember anyone here writing that Rush would actually have his show cancelled over this. What I expected was that Rush would become even more toxic to mainstream advertisers, that his advertising base would become even more low-rent, and that this would hurt Rush where it matters, the wallet. As far as I can tell, most of that has happened. To this day, if a national brand advertiser’s ad accidentally appears on the Limbaugh show, then they immediately have to apologize.

I had an old Philosophy prof whose rejoinder to the Nietzsche aphorism “that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” was “what about a double amputation?” Rush didn’t get killed here, but he’s anything but stronger, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s how you keep score in the Culture Wars.

Pullet Surprise

Remember that backyard chicken project I mentioned awhile back? Yeah, well, look who’s on my writing desk:

She’s an Australorp chick. We have three of them and four Rhode Island Reds. They are living in my home office until they get big enough to reside outdoors in the magnificent coop my husband constructed for them, which I call the Taj MaHen.

The chicks are in a huge plastic tub with a heat lamp right next to my desk. Despite the 95-degree heat and constant rustling and chirping, I’ve got to say they are the most delightful co-workers I’ve ever had.

[X-posted at Rumproast]

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Manly

(Mike Stanfill’s website)

It’s the lifted pinky that makes the joke. (Hat tip, commentor JeffreyW.)
And while we’re agitating the Mens Rights Activists, David Wong makes me laugh, even while making me despair for the future of the species, with “5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women[warning, extremely disturbing Free Republic quotes included in the article]. My personal favorite is “#3: We Think You’re Conspiring With Our Boners to Ruin Us“.

Which (via NYMag) brings us to Robert Briggs, who for some reason (my estrogen-conditioned lack of imagination, probably) strikes me as Man At His Dumbfvck Man-liest:

…Biggs set out Monday morning for one of his usual hiking and gold-panning trips near Whiskey Flats when he came across a mother bear, yearling, and cub sitting on a stream bank. Biggs said he stopped to watch the bears for a few moments, but, as he turned to leave, something jumped on his back and knocked him to his knees.
“My backpack raises up over my head and a mountain lion latched on to it,” Biggs said.
Biggs hit the lion on the head with a rock pick he was carrying when he saw the bear grab the lion by the neck, Biggs said. The two animals struggled on the ground for a few seconds before the lion got free and ran away, he added.
“I think the lion was stalking the bear’s cub and I got in the way,” Biggs said. “The bear walked calmly back to her cub after, and I wrapped my arm up with a T-shirt and went gold panning before I went home.”
Biggs returned home to his shocked wife, Suzanne Biggs, who said she tried to convince him to go to the doctor, but has still had no luck.
“I was pretty worried when I saw all of the blood on his clothes, but he’s being very stubborn,” Suzanne Biggs said. “I thought he should go in case of rabies, but Bob isn’t worried.”…

Never get between a guy and his hobby…