Open Thread: Postapocalypticism in the Style Section

(Tom Toles via

The political process breaks down, things fall apart, doom hangs heavy in the air… and the NYTimes, ever sensitive to changes in the zeitgeist, moves from sharing tips on “stem-to-root cooking” (That’s Not Trash, That’s Dinner) to a primer on permaculture:

As a way to save the world, digging a ditch next to a hillock of sheep dung would seem to be a modest start. Granted, the ditch was not just a ditch. It was meant to be a “swale,” an earthwork for slowing the flow of water down a slope on a hobby farm in western Wisconsin.
And the trenchers, far from being day laborers, had paid $1,300 to $1,500 for the privilege of working their spades on a cement-skied Tuesday morning in late June.
Fourteen of us had assembled to learn permaculture, a simple system for designing sustainable human settlements, restoring soil, planting year-round food landscapes, conserving water, redirecting the waste stream, forming more companionable communities and, if everything went according to plan, turning the earth’s looming resource crisis into a new age of happiness.
It was going to have to be a pretty awesome ditch…

(Garden Chat and awesome reader pics later this evening; just wanted to share this as a virtual palate-cleanser.)

Thursday Morning Open Thread

(Ted Rall’s website)

Tom Junod posted this in Esquire‘s Political Blog two weeks ago, but I don’t think I’ve seen a better analogy for the GOPers’ intransigence since then:

Ah, but that’s vision for you: Some men see the economic peril that is and say “Why?”; others dream of the economic peril that never was and say “Why not?” Indeed, after spending an entire day talking to Democrats and Republicans about the debt ceiling, I’d become convinced that they were never going to come to any kind of agreement because they were in fact talking about different things: They both agreed that the patient was sick, but the Democrats diagnosed diabetes, and the Republicans diagnosed cancer. The Democrats were saying that as long as the patient stayed on insulin — i.e., as long as the patient could issue new debt — he wouldn’t lose his toes, go blind, and succumb to impotence; the Republicans were saying that if they didn’t get in there and start cutting right away, he would die. The Democrats were “conservative,” saying that if the patient started eating better and exercising a little bit he’d eventually come around; the Republicans were intent on using the patient’s illness as an occasion for a little experimentation, an opportunity to prove that if they preemptively excised his toes, eyes, and penis he’d get along just fine, and might even be motivated to get off his ass and get a freaking job….


Apart from situations over which we may have even less control than we do over the weather…. What’s on the schedule today?

Open Thread: “Illegitimists”

While scrambling to produce her usual trademark defense of rightwing authoritarianism in Norway and elsewhere(she prefers bothsides to the general wingnut wurlitzer hoocoodanode), Anne Appelbaum coins a new identifier that I think might actually be useful:

… In contemporary America, we also have people who are—and I am inventing this word here—illegitimists: They believe that the president of the United States is illegitimately elected, or that the country is ruled by a cabal that is in turn controlled by some other sinister force or forces. In the past, left-wing illegitimists were quite common, and in fact Marxism is a classic, paranoid version of this creed…
There is also a right-wing version of this argument… More recently, right-wing illegitimism has taken the form of birtherism. The attempt to prove that Barack Obama isn’t American-born was, at base, an attempt to prove that he is illegitimate and that he therefore deserves to be removed from power—somehow. Birtherism is also linked to other forms of illegitimism, such as the belief that Obama is a Muslim, and is thus controlled by international jihadists, or the belief that he is “Kenyan” and thus motivated by anti-colonial hatred of white people in general and Americans in particular. It is not accidental that the one note of sympathy for Breivik in the U.S. media came from the lips of birtherist and illegitimist Glenn Beck, who helpfully compared the young Norwegians murdered by Breivik to “Hitler Youth.” Presumably if they are Hitler Youth, then they deserved to die?

Let this be our motto: Illegitimi non carborundum!

Late Night Open Thread

Yoram Bauman FTW:

“The left wing, spineless. The right wing, heartless. The center, clueless. You’re so clueless and apathetic, you don’t even know what apathetic means. You’re so apathetic, you can’t even be bothered to look it up…
“Many people are surprised that libertarians are at the far right — they think of the Tea Party as the far right. But the Tea Party is a fascinating mixture of the far right of the political spectrum and the far center of the political spectrum, an explosive mixture of radical individualism and extreme cluelessness. These are people who believe in Social Darwinism, but they don’t believe in Darwin.

(For The Win, Fvck The World — either one works.)

Thanks to commentor Katharsis for the link.

I’ve been having trouble accessing the site all day, so it’s not just you, okay?

Sunday Night Open Thread

(Jeff Danziger’s website)
According to the NYTimes, “Boehner & Reid Prepare Rival Debt Plans“:

… Mr. Reid, the Senate’s top Democrat, was trying on Sunday to cobble together a plan to raise the government’s debt limit by $2.4 trillion through the 2012 elections, with spending cuts of about $2.7 trillion that would not touch any of the entitlement programs that are dear to Democrats or raise taxes, which is anathema to Republicans…
At the White House on Sunday evening, Mr. Obama spent about an hour meeting in the Oval Office to try to hash out details of the Democratic proposal with Mr. Reid and the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi. The two emerged from the meeting with nothing to say to the throngs of reporters who had been encamped there for the third consecutive weekend, awaiting an agreement on the debt ceiling.
But administration and Congressional officials said that during the meeting, Mr. Obama and the Democratic leaders had resolved to hold firm against any short-term agreement that did not raise the debt ceiling beyond next year’s presidential elections. […]
The contours of Mr. Boehner’s backup plan were not entirely clear, but it seemed likely to take the form of a two-step process, with about $1 trillion in cuts, an amount the Republicans said was sufficient to clear the way for a debt limit increase through year’s end. That would be followed by future cuts guided by a new legislative commission that would consider a broader range of trims, program overhauls and revenue increases…
One freshman lawmaker on the call described Mr. Boehner as sounding weary and said many Republicans were focused on some version of a balanced budget amendment, which was already passed by the House as part of broader legislation but then rejected by the Senate.

Shorter Orange John: I got a caucus full of nothin’, and the chomp marks all over my ankles to prove it.


Meanwhile, the Washington Post, in its capacity as the broadsheet for a company town whose product is politics, has had a user poll up since late Friday asking Which leader is most at fault for the latest breakdown in debt talks?. Consensus of 46,373 voters allocates Obama 15%, Boehner/Cantor/McConnell 82%, Reid/Pelosi/Other 2%. In other words, the Repubs haven’t even managed to hold onto the stalwarts of the Crazification Factor!