Daddy Gets Forgiven So Easily

Alex Pareene captures a phenomenon I think we’re all sick of:

There’s a certain sort of elite liberal who loves Republican men almost as much as they detest anti-establishment progressives. Not “Republican men” like Mitch McConnell or Jeff Sessions, who are too narrowly concerned with implementing their ghoulish agenda to play the game. Rather, their affections attach to men like John Boehner, perpetually out on his lawnmower; or Ben Sasse, with his family canon of great books by men; or good old John McCain, so recently memorialized by every old liberal’s new favorite young person, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. (Praising John McCain is, of course, good politics—if you are chasing the support of the liberal establishment, that is.)

But while those men easily win over reporters who don’t consider themselves liberal, the path to a more partisan liberal’s heart requires one to become an apostate—or at least play one on television. That’s the lesson Joe Scarborough learned, more or less overnight, when he criticized the Bush administration’s handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In the space of ten minutes, Scarborough went from being a steady font of right-wing outrage and hostility, to being fulsomely embraced as a breath of fresh air on cable news.

The most notable thing about Scarborough’s transformation is that he didn’t actually have to atone for his past life beyond, perhaps, a dollop of mild contrition.  […]

Pareene’s topic is how Joe Walsh will get the same treatment as Scarborough by running against Trump, even though Walsh is pretty awful.  The never-Trumpers in general get this treatment.  One notable example is David Frum, who in a just world would be a marginal figure being roasted for the Iraq War.  Instead, he’s enjoying a renaissance on MSNBC and CNN because he’s an apostate .

Don’t get me wrong – an enemy of my enemy is my friend, but Jesus Christ, not a close friend, and only as long as we have the same enemy.  I’m certainly not going to roll over and submissively urinate in their presence.








Mavericky Maverick Mavericks

But it was a really mavericky party vote he cast followed by some real straight talk.

Anyone for some tire swinging?

Fuck that worthless scumbag.

Oh, and Capito decided to screw her state. As did Heller and Portman.








Senator McCain is Apparently Senile

Despite the fact that he is an evil, angry man, it was pretty sad watching McCain, because he has clearly lost his mind.

I haven’t felt this way watching a politician since this guy:

He appeared to be under the impression that the election was still ongoing, called Comey President, and then couldn’t understand why Clinton was not prosecuted for helping the Russians elect Trump.








Trump Administration Reverses Course; Supports Massive Funding Increase For Performance Art

A sidelight on yesterday’s Tomahawk raid on a Syrian airbase.

1:  Fifty-nine Tomahawks fired.

2: Targetting:  “The targets included air defenses, aircraft, hangars and fuel.”  For good reason (IMHO) the strike avoided stored chemical weapons.  Personnel at the base were warned of the impending attack and as of now, no casualties have been reported.

3: Results: some shit got blown up. All of it can be repaired or replaced with out, it seems, significant difficulty.

All of which is to say that this was what most kindly can be called a warning shot, and rather less so, performance art.

Which gets me to my point.  The price tag for fifty nine Tomahawk missiles runs a little bit shy of $90 million.

For scale: that’s roughly 60% of the $148 million the to-be defunded National Endowment of the Arts received in 2016.

I believe Donald Trump’s grant was titled, “Very Expensive Holes In Concrete.”

Image: Adrian Hill, A British Mine Exploding, sometime during World War I.








Why I Hate The NY Times, Part [n]*

This paragraph:

There is most likely a middle way. Republican lawmakers might be comfortable with a system that shifts more of the costs of care onto people who are sick, if it makes the average insurance plan less costly for the healthy. But making those choices would mean engaging in very real trade-offs, less simple than their talking point.

“Republican lawmakers might be comfortable…”  Think of the assuptions not in evidence required to write that phrase.  Think also of the cluelessness in what comes next:  those who buy insurance are seen here in the Republican frame, as two binary populations, the healthy and the sick.

That would be  the “virtuous”  healthy paid less than the molly-coddled, feckless sick.  That the same people might occupy both identities at different points of their lives seems not to have occured to this Times writer, Margot Sanger-Katz — whom I’ve noted before has an odd willingness to couch her Upshot explainers in weighted and coded language.

As seems to be hers and several Times-folk’s penchant, much of the story from which I extracted above is perfectly fine, an actual explainer of what Essential Health Benefits do and why they’re important. She even notes that in a system without a required benefit package–

…the meaning of “health insurance” can start to become a little murky.

Well, yeah, as it doesn’t actually insure against unanticipated risks.  I’d take issue with the meekness of her critique here, that is, but at least she suggests to the fragile sensibilities of her tender readers that perhaps a minor problem might result here.

Which makes the passage I quoted up top both weird and revealing: cheap insurance for the healthy and soak-the-sick policies for those with the misfortune to suffer the ails that impinge on just about every human being, sometime or other is a pretty damn good example of a murky notion of health insurance.

That is: the habit of mind, the reflexive and seemingly unconscious acceptance of a right wing tropes that lead both to conclusions unsupported by the evidence and an inability to grasp what one has actually just said.  This happens a lot at The New York Times. Happened a lot there too, over the crucial months of 2016.  Which goes a long way, IMHO, to accounting for the predicament we’re in now.

*Where [n] is an arbitrarily large number.x

Image:  Codex Aureus Epternacensis, Christ Cleansing Ten Lepers, c. 1035-1040.