Friday, April 5, 2013


Stuart Zechman provides some insight into what the New Democrat Network (NDN) is all about:

I'd be happy to talk about why Obama (and his kind of Democrat) are obsessed with "modernizing" entitlements, from a policy perspective. This is from "The New Landscape of Globalization" by NDN's Bob Shapiro:
The fact is that the productivity gap between the United States and Europe and Japan has increased steadily for more than a decade, pointing to America's single most important economic advantage at a time for rapid globalization: basic competition is more intense inside the U.S. economy. Japan and Europe's large countries still maintain regulatory walls around much of their retail, wholesale, financial, business and personal service sectors, so they are still dominated by millions of inefficient, small companies with little incentive to change almost anything. America's more bare-knuckled competition at almost every level and aspect of its economy makes workers and companies less secure, especially in a time of galloping globalization and technological progress. It also forces companies and workers to change all the time, by using the latest technologies and business practices to improve something they make or do, or come up with new products, processes and ways of doing business.
You see, according to the policy guys at NDN, whose influence on the '12 Obama campaign caused Michael Scherer to laud their policy work as the "Most Important Chart in American Politics", our "single, most important economic advantage" here in the US is that, "at almost every level and aspect of its economy," America "makes its workers and companies less secure," thus forcing everybody to upgrade to Windows 8.

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I sort of lost the will to make this post better when I heard the worst news ever: Iain Banks is dying. I love that man. We all do, but I loved him the minute I saw him climbing up the sides of the bar in the hotel at his first convention And every time I was sitting in a hotel room and he climbed in the window. One time he walked into the hotel lobby in Liverpool and came over and lifted me right up into the air. So exuberant, so full of life. I just can't believe it. When he started writing actual science fiction, I loved that, too, but as an individual, seeing Iain always made me smile, always made me happy, often made me laugh. I just don't know what to say.
A Personal Statement from Iain Banks

William Greider, "Why Was Paul Krugman So Wrong? [...] Like Krugman, governing elites dismissed critics and simply stated that free trade will be good for America because US energies and endless creativity are sure to prevail, as they always have in the past. Opponents like organized labor were typically ridiculed as backward Luddites, promoting what Krugman called 'disguised protectionism.' That label scared off major media. Reporters take their cues from the 'supposed authority' of business leaders and scholarly experts. At the most prestigious newspapers, reporters and editors simply ignored the substantive critiques of free trade orthodoxy as not worthy of their investigation. After thirty years, the case against free trade is still a taboo subject in respectable circles."

And now Brad Plumer is in the WaPo with, "The case for expanding Social Security, not cutting it". I marvel at how something that was unsayable only a few weeks ago is starting to be said. This is almost like if it had become possible in 2009 to talk about single-payer.

Jacob Bacharach (formerly Who Is IOZ?) on the not-very-good mea culpa from Ezra over Iraq, "Heroes in Error," is good - and good enough to actually get cited at The American Conservative. And also right. (Thanks to commenter Jcapan for the tip.)

Meanwhile, have you ever looked at Executive Order 13431?

"A Heartbreaking Drug Sentence of Staggering Idiocy" - and something that wouldn't be happening if our glorious leaders were really concerned with saving wasted money.

Glenn Greenwald's follow-up on various matters includes one on Assange's safety.
Good interview of Kevin Gosztola, on the Bradley Manning prosecutions, by Sam Seder on The Majority Report

"It Can Happen Here: The Confiscation Scheme Planned for US and UK Depositors"
"The Big Banks Are Still Getting A Pass

Ten lies the Tories tell about welfare

Librul Media watch:
April fool? Just your friendly neighborhood KKK.
"All three journalists look at the increasing dependence on these programs and come away puzzled: Why are so many people now getting disability and food stamp payments?"

In Forbes, "Why Veterans' Advocates Don't Like Chained CPI" - because, you know, it's a cut!

Dr. Duncan Black in USA Today, "Chained CPI a gimmick we'll all pay for"

Even more voter suppression bills introduced

"If you can't make the American system as good as Britain's, make Britain's as bad as America. ‘Cause the parasites need feeding no matter what."

I hardly know what to say about this one: "Florida polo tycoon has difficulty adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend in order to keep assets away from bio-kids, ex-wife, family of guy he killed in a hit-and-run." (via)

"NRA gun instructor misses protest because (wait for it) he shot himself in the foot."

Chris Matthews claims he opposed the invasion of Iraq. Who knew?
Where are they now?

You don't sue MAD magazine.

Pervcam the Sistine Chapel (via)

A thing I didn't know: In this video, the guy you see mostly from the back, a lot, lurching in front of the camera enough that you can catch his profile from time to time, is none other than Paul Williams. (Thanks to Farber for the tip.)

Forgive me for linking this picture.

"The Sidebar of Making Light" (Via the sidebar of Making Light.)


  1. ICYMI, I have a new dictionary out called The Misanthrope's Manual and here's 13 sample definitions. Please pass the word about it.

  2. The picture we are supposed to forgive you for posting comes up a blank Facebook page.

    Also, the Sistine Chapel photo ... wow!!! Thanks. Bookmarked to peruse later, slowly, panel by delicious panel.

  3. Nice timing by Team O:

    They're about to include Social Security and Medicare cuts in the budget right after the worst jobs report in 9 months.

    "The beatings will continue until morale improves (and we put the GOP back in control of the Senate, too).

  4. One is tempted to hope that the Florida tycoon succeeds, and then the supposed girlfriend/daughter dumps him and keeps all his assets.

  5. I wonder if Sweden could get around the impasse by making Assange a Swedish diplomat. I think that would prevent the US (or any other nation) from seeking to extradite him, while still making him subject to Swedish law.

  6. Another New Dem-style improver - wasn't he touted as a Supreme Court pick a while back?

    In his new book, “Simpler: The Future of Government,” Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein writes about his nearly four years as President Barack Obama’s “regulatory czar.”
    If this is the future of government — legally suspect, politically unaccountable, preternaturally secretive — I’d like to think we can do better.