In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« "The Legend of Hell House" | Main | Sound-Effects "Art" »

September 06, 2006


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Visual ravishment aplenty can be had by surfing this collection of Japanese photography links.

* Do you find giant puppets as creepy as I do?

* Where do you go with your television career once this kind of thing has been made public? (NSFW, that's for sure.)

* Steve Sailer thinks that The New Yorker's Malcolm Gladwell lacks street smarts.

* The last surviving Ziegfeld girl recently turned 102 years old.

* Terry Teachout praises the act of searching for recorded music in CD-store aisles. Tyler Cowen thinks online searching has a lot to recommend it.

* So you think of the Dems as the party of the real people and the Repubs as the party of the rich? Tim Carney thinks it's time to open your eyes. Nice quote:

The four largest individual donors in the 2004 election all gave exclusively to Democrats. In 2006, so far, the three most prolific industries -- real estate, securities/investment, and lawyers/lobbies -- have all given more to Hillary Clinton than to any other candidate ... Despite Democrats' "the-people-versus-the-powerful" rhetoric both parties are the parties of big business. Despite Republicans' "government-that-is-best-governs-least" rhetoric, both parties are the parties of big government.

Here's another interview with Carney.

* Milton Friedman junkies won't want to miss this very recent interview with him.



posted by Michael at September 6, 2006


Uncle Milt is still alive? What, is he the Keith Richards of Economics? Who says you can't get satisfaction from a free market economy? Not Dr. Friedman...and based on his lifestyle, not his equally indestructable brother, Mr. Richards.

Posted by: DarkoV on September 6, 2006 6:34 PM

Killer interview with Milton Friedman. Thanks.

Posted by: Lexington Green on September 6, 2006 9:42 PM

Granted, both political parties thrive on the largess of well-endowed special interest groups.

The important question, for me, is what are the agendas of such groups and which group is more threatening to our general wellfare?

The oil and coal industries have given heavily to the Republicans for years, resulting in an energy policy that consists of nothing more than increased tax subsidies for oil and coal, rhetoric about building more nuclear power plants and denying the empirical facts on global warming.

I'm less worried, though not unconcerned, about the desires of the groups you listed as Hillary's financial contributors.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on September 7, 2006 2:36 AM

DV -- The Keith Richards School of Economics, I love it. Come to think of it, didn't Mick attend the London School of Economics? Hmm, I think you've uncovered a new theme in rock-music history ...

Lex -- A pleasure.

Peter -- I think the two parties haven't left us much to do besides opt for whoever we suspect/hope/think will do the least damage. It'd be nice to actually vote "for" someone, but that's not something I've been able to do for a very long time. If forever, come to think of it ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 7, 2006 10:31 AM

I have to agree with Peter. The 'pubs may talk about how much safer we'll be with them, but history has shown a different truth. I voted red all my life, and would move to a third party if there actually was one. Since the American way now is to only vote for the lesser of two evils, that leaves me with Hillary, whom I despise or the pub candidate who I'm terrified by.

Besides that, as a non-Christian, the republican party no longer shares my views.

Posted by: Spoonman on September 7, 2006 10:39 AM

Like Peter, I'm considerably less concerned with where the parties are getting their money than with the policies they promote. And by that measure, there's simply no debate about which is the party of "real people" and which is the party of big business. Pick just about any issue -- the environment, social security, health care -- and the Republicans side with corporate interests against the interests of the vast majority of Americans, as well as against the long-term social/fiscal health of the nation. Take universal government-funded health care, which would be a unequivocal, undeniable boon to all middle- and low-income Americans. A substantial majority of Democrats support such a measure. You'd be hard pressed to find more than a handful of Republicans who would.

Posted by: Steve on September 7, 2006 11:19 AM

The war -- that is, the big-picture fight against the Islamists and dictators, not merely the battle of Iraq -- eclipses all other issues as far as I'm concerned. And on this issue the Republicans are bumblers but the Democrats, with the exception of a few such as Lieberman, fail to appreciate the nature and scope of the threat and fail to be serious about what to do about it. So I will continue to vote Republican despite the Republicans' many flaws.

Posted by: Jonathan on September 7, 2006 1:49 PM

"Take universal government-funded health care, which would be a unequivocal, undeniable boon to all middle- and low-income Americans."

Why won't these things die? I mean really, why won't they?

Posted by: Brian on September 7, 2006 1:52 PM

Sorry, but even if you believe that the war eclipses all other issues, the notion that the Repubs are bumblers but more serious about the threat is ridiculous. No one who truly appreciates the nature and scope of the threat would throw around ill-informed terms like Islamo-fascism or conflate Iran with Germany under Hilter, just to pick two relatively minor examples. Let alone the huge unseriousness of invading and occupying an already-contained Iraq, which will cripple US foreign policy and military authority for decades to come.

As for the Dems, George Will recently quoted Kerry at length in a debate from the last election on the usefulness of "police actions" and international alliances in combatting terrorism, and acknowledged that Kerry was right and Bush and the neocons have led us straight down the path to disaster. Yes, the Dems have a weakness in foreign policy -- their rank-and-file have always demonstrated a greater passion for domestic issues. But would we be in a better position to combat worldwide terrorism with Gore or Kerry in the White House versus Bush? Well, we wouldn't be bogged down in Iraq for starters, so the question answers itself.

Any Dem weakness in the face of terrorism pales in comparison to that of the modern Repubs, with their mindless bellicosity, contempt for international law and alliances, and patholgical eagerness to squandor blood and treasure on ill-conceived optional wars.

Posted by: Steve on September 7, 2006 2:31 PM

Why won't these things die? I mean really, why won't they?

Um, because it's increasingly difficult to ignore the dozens of countries out there with demonstrably better health care systems than ours?

Posted by: Steve on September 7, 2006 2:38 PM

...I'm considerably less concerned with where the parties are getting their money than with the policies they promote...

Oh, but the devil is always in the details, and the details are where the payoffs for the contributors always reside, and where the general public gets it...good and hard.

Personally, I think that a detailed history of campaign contributors would clarify far more about the real structures of American politics than the standard discussion of "policies". It's peculiar, to my mind, how much political history and discussion relies on reification--that is, treating issues or abstractions like "the market" as if they were, well, human--and how much it fails to dig into the actual human beings who connive (and bribe) to get issues resolved their way.

But what do I know...

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on September 7, 2006 3:20 PM

I see, from the "free preview," that Ms. Williams the TV reporter is not unacquainted with the razor. Blecch.

Posted by: Peter on September 7, 2006 11:16 PM

WRT which party is more serious about national defense, compare this with the Democratic response. The Democrats treat the war in terms of poll-tested buzzwords -- withdrawal from Iraq, port security, capturing Bin Laden and so forth -- but ignore strategy and the big picture. They aren't serious. They don't want to confront the existence of a worldwide jihadist movement that is dedicated to destroying our society and, if not stopped, will soon have nuclear weapons. Port security, homeland security and catching Bin Laden are great, but by themselves they aren't going to solve the main problem.

If the Democrats had been in power they would have had to do most of the same things that Bush has done (though I suspect they would have done them with greater ineptitude). But since they're not in power they have the luxury of carping from the sidelines and making partisan hay by blaming Bush for everything that goes wrong. They are not serious. Kerry's "global test" was not serious. Gore's insistence that global warming is the most important issue facing us is not serious. Insisting that we act only in collaboration with worthless "allies" like France and Russia is not serious. Going through the UN is not serious. Iran with nukes is serious, yet the Democratic position expounded by Kerry et al is that we should stake everything on negotiations that have already failed for years and that cannot possibly succeed in the future. What the Democrats are saying, in essence, is that we shouldn't do what is necessary to stop the bad guys now, that people who want to stop them now are warmongers and that if port security fails we'll send the FBI to arrest the people who nuked our cities. That's not serious.

Posted by: Jonathan on September 8, 2006 9:39 AM

Um, because it's increasingly difficult to ignore the dozens of countries out there with demonstrably better health care systems than ours?

Such as? Canada? Where all the good doctors are either going in to private practice or moving to the States because they can see how much more money is made here? Where you have to wait months just to see a doctor for non-emergency issues? How do you know it's not an emergency until you see a doctor? I've already done my homework, you see. 'Cause if the house and senate stay red this November, I'm taking my chances and moving north.

Ask any health insurance provider (as I have, my mother's worked in the field for the last 30+ years) and they'll tell you: we already have socialized health care. You already pay for the poor folks in your payment. Don't believe it? Go to the emergency room and tell them you don't have insurance. They'll treat you and send you a bill which you can promptly ignore as most people do.

The system we live under in the states is broken, no one's ever going to dispute that. Going in an opposite, but equally broken, direction is not the answer.

though I suspect they would have done them with greater ineptitude

Really? How? Oh, right, they wouldn't have attacked countries that had nothing to do with 9/11. They'dve left those "bad guys" alone. Despite what the right will tell you, not everyone living in the middle east is a "bad guy". Following the doctrine of "kill 'em all and let god sort 'em out" is just the kind of thing we're supposed to be fighting, right?

The fact of the matter is, both sides are completely wrong. We've ceased voting FOR something, and just vote AGAINST everyone. Both parties know this, and no longer talk about issues, but what the other's not going to do for you. It curdles my blood to vote Dem this November, but I ain't taking the chance of voting in more christian crusaders. I've lost enough freedoms under this administration, and if I have to give up some security to keep my freedoms, well...that's what being an American is all about. It's not about being a pussy who hides behind "the war on terror" while handing the christians carte blanche to control every aspect of our existance. I'm not afraid of the "islamo-fascists" in the middle east, I'm worried about the christo-fascists in our own government.

This November is too important to risk, we need to get the pubs out and then start grooming third parties to be ready for the next cycle. I'm tired of Right v. Left, I want MY opinions to matter, and neither are voicing them.

Posted by: Spoonman on September 8, 2006 12:03 PM

I don't want to hijack this comments thread with a fruitless back-and-forth on the relative seriousness of the two parties vis a vis national security (too late, I know). But the latest antics of the number-two Republican on the House Armed Services Committee are too good to pass up. He's sponsored a resolution that would effectively remove Bush and Rumsfeld from the chain of command:


These guys are about as serious as a car full of clowns.

Posted by: Steve on September 8, 2006 12:59 PM

The leaking vat of venomous spit above reminds me of that conversation long ago, when Doug and Donald said their regular blogreading includes the liberal/Dems/pinkos sites (was it you, Doug?), and I honestly couldn't understand this unhealthy habit of spoiling your day.

Now this site gets infected, too.

Posted by: Tat on September 8, 2006 1:26 PM

'Cause if the house and senate stay red this November, I'm taking my chances and moving north.

You'd have a better chance in France, which the WHO listed as have the best health care system in the world. Everyone likes to bring up the ills of Canada -- in fact, they're still better than us in health outcomes/cost of care. But there are also better models out there. Check out Ezra Klein's blog for some good coverage.

we already have socialized health care

I don't disagree with you there -- not only emergency room care for people who can't pay, which is the most expensive/least effective care of them all, but Medicaid, Medicare, the VA system of hospitals (a good model for care, since its reform in the '90s), and host of other tax incentives, etc. It's all part of the great, insane patchwork of health care in this country.

But I would argue that's it hard to find an "equally broken" model of health care among the advance nations of the world.

Posted by: Steve on September 8, 2006 1:30 PM

When I was in junior high, I did a project on the Zeigfeld follies for a History Day competition. Yeah, I don't get it either. Anyway, my competition partner and I interviewed a real live Zeigfeld girl, er, woman, we dug up in Iowa! And we had her interview on a tape and we had a display with lots of cool pictures and the whole thing was swathed in a curtain like a theater curtain.

And who won the competition? A stupid boy who built a stupid rocket. Ugh. We wuz robbed.....

Posted by: MD on September 8, 2006 3:22 PM

I have a real simple question for the left-wing whiners who, as Tat so observantly points out, love criticizing any military action. What would you have done/do about Islamic terrorism that has attacked America, Europe, Australia, Indonesia, Kenya, Britian, Russia, Israel, and other countries? What would you do to secure the flow of the most important commodity to the world economy (oil)? What would you do to prevent Islamic terrorists from getting the bomb and using it on Israel, trying to commit another Holocaust?

I expect an answer, not the usual blaming of republicans, and what we SHOULDN'T have done, or the BS of negotiating with terrorists. What would you have done after September 11th?

Watch and see the empty, ridiculous answers to this question. These whiners have nothing. Watch them criticize one of the least bloody and militarily effective toppling of a foreign regimes in history. Our goal was the taking out of Hussein and the Taliban, both of whom sponsored Islamic terrorists, all other happy talk by the administration aside. I really don't care if Iraq splits up into three parts. I only care that when I go to work, nobody has put a bomb in the subway car, or wants to blow up my family when they are out shopping at the mall. I don't give a damn about the middle east. They would be nothing without the oil. All we should care about is securing the oil, keeping our own cities safe, and aiding and defending our allies, one of which is Israel.

I guess in a perfect world, everything would work out the best for everybody. But we don't live in perfect world. What is wrong with these leftists who have never grown up, can't deal with reality, and only have a big mouthfull of crap for the efforts and priorities of their own country(men)? Unless you have a better solution and are willing to share it with us all here, why don't you close your gaping pie holes on the subject and give us some peace. Go vote in November. I'm getting tired of the rill.

Posted by: s on September 8, 2006 3:54 PM

"What would you have done after September 11th?"

*Remain focused in Afghanistan and in capturing Bin Laden.

*Put a lot of pressure on the gov't in Saudi Arabia, who is there almost soley thanks to our dependence on their oil, to crack down on the Wahabbi sects from which ALL of the 9/11 hijackers orginated.

*Work more closely with Pakistan in setting up border patrols.

*DO NOT invade Iraq nor use tenuous (at best) and false (more likely) connections to 9/11 to mislead our country into backing such an invasion.

*Refrain from taunting our closest allies ("Old Europe").

*Continue to build upon the unprecedented global support we had in the months following 9/11 by founding an international body dedicated towards thwarting terrorist activities, separate from the almost useless UN.

*Once more, with feeling: DO NOT invade Iraq.

Many of us out here on the left are not adverse to military action when done with some intelligent planning and for a good reason. I don't think you can argue that the situation in Iraq has been handled in that way.

Posted by: the patriarch on September 8, 2006 4:18 PM

Forgot to add: Delegate far more resources into developing alternative sources of energy, not because I want to go hug a happy tree, but because I do not want to be dependant on countries run by religious fanatics for anything. As you say, much of the Middle East would still be shuttling sheep around the desert if it weren't for our need for their oil.

Posted by: the patriarch on September 8, 2006 4:21 PM

Regarding the Patriarch's call for alternative sources of energy, I'd also have been in favor of swapping drilling in places like ANWR for a steep increase in the gas tax and stiff new mileage requirements on all classes of vehicles.

Five years out from 9/11, we could have engineered a dramatic decrease in oil consumption. If only we'd been serious (i.e., our leadership hadn't been beholden to the oil companies).

Posted by: Steve on September 8, 2006 4:52 PM


You're only against the Iraq invasion because it hasn't worked out as planned, and for no other reason. All your liberal coward legislators voted overwhelmingly to go in. Lets take your list one by one.

1) The US already is and was focused on the hunt for Bin Laden in Afghanistan. Why you bring this up I have no idea.

2) Pressure was applied to Saudi Arabia. I'll get back to this a little later in the post

3) The US was already working hand in glove with Pakistan. See comment #1

4) Why ignore openly hostile regimes in Iraq, Syria, and Iran which sponsor terrorist groups? Why? Because taking care of them would be hard and costly, that's why. Taking the easy way out is more the liberal style.

5) Refrain from insulting (disagreeing) some European governments? You mean the ones who were getting oil on the sly from Iraq and propping up the murderous dictator who was sponsoring terrorists? What real credibilitty do those governments have in this sphere? Absolutely none, I'd say. I guess sometimes doing the right and responsible thing, like going after states which sponsor terrorists, will make you unpopular with some. Better to do the right thing and alienate the corrupt. They'll get over it.

6) This is so ridiculous it doesn't even deserve a comment.

7) What military action would that be? Oh, the ones that go perfectly! Please name these instances, and how the left was all for them. We're waiting.....

8) What alternative sources of energy? Nuclear power? The lefties don't like that! Wind? The lefties like that, as long as its in somebody else's back yard. Hydropower and dams? Lefties opposed those too. Coal? No way. Solar? Lefties like solar and say they like wind too. But being an engineer I will tell you why solar and wind are a small part of the answer.

Simply put, electricity is used almost instantaneously after it is generated. Storing huge amounts of energy is simply impossible as it now stands. The energy is either used up very quickly or it is gone. Power companies have to provide steady power throughout the day. They can predict what theppower usage will be given past history and things like temperature, sunrise and sunset, figuring out where the peaks are or will be. Then they power up using coal, nuclear, natural gas, and hydro which can supply A PREDICTABLE OUTPUT so they can meet demand. Solar and wind simply fluctuate too much. They won't be the anwer you think they will. It will be some kind of combination of all the resources we have. We will never produce all our own oil. Our oil production is declining and has been since 1971. And withe all the new illegal immigrants you lefties like so much (I'm a conservative, not a republican), the problem of oil usage and imporatation will likely get worse. And it still does nothing to secure the oil supply for our alles and other countries which depend on it around the world . You should remember that most countries around the world talk a good game on opposing the US, but secretly are happy we are there to deal with the problem. Moral superiority. You lefties know all about that one. Also the alternative energy idea sounds like running away from the problem, which is terrorism, not just oil supply. You guys are great at that too, the running away part.

The real truth of the matter is that the countries which finance terrorist groups are too cowardly to fight their enemies directly, because they know they would lose, and that the great powers do not confront each other directly anymore because of the Bomb, a fact which has saved many countless lives in the last 60 years. Therefore, the cowards fund terrorists to attack civilians instead of armed troups. Terrorism is a form of "stateless" war. Except when the funds can be traced back to the terrorist states.

Another small bit of reality for you. These terrorist organizations, whether explicity funded by a specific government or not, still have operatives and sympathizers in every arab/muslim government, which aid them by providing intelligence and black funding through various means. Yes, even the soviets had spies in the US government. The same is true of the unbelievably corrupt governments of the middle east. The idiots in Baghdad, Tehran, and Damascus are stupid enough to admit so openly. So they were forewarned of our wrath. And the great idiot in Baghdad was canned rather nicely. The US has made it clear what is in store for those governments which cannot put a lid on their terrorist sympathizers--conquest and division. Saudi Arabia is great friend of the west and has been for a long time. The step of the US abandoning its bases there was to enable the regime to have more crdiblity with the more radical islamists and put a lid on their problem. You can very well bet they are out allies through this, while making talk to calm their populace.

You didn't answer my question about Iran and the Bomb. But I knew you wouldn't because you have no answer. We all know what needs to be done. The delay in doing so is because of people like you who cry and whelp when any one soldier is killed in wars you oppose. I guess you won't be convinced until they drop the big one on Israel. The madman in Tehran has openly stated that he would be willing to sacrifice half of the people in his country if Israel could be annihilated. The fools on the left! Talk it out! The Camp David accords have not stopped the attacks on Israel, or the rest of the west. The muslims simply use terrorists to do the dirty work. Talking doesn't work. Love doesn't work. Fear works. The fat thugs in charge of these backwater shitholes have no more desire to see Allah than anyone else before their time has come. It is fear which keeps them in line. You leftists want to destroy that weapon, and handcuff the country which instills that great fear in the bad guys. How it sickens me! How disgusting! Grow up!

Posted by: s on September 9, 2006 1:20 AM

Everyone likes to bring up the ills of Canada

Oh, I agree, I only mentioned them as one example since I'd already done the research on them. The health care system is not even on my list of reasons to move there, though. In actuality it's one of the few in the "against" pile.

wants to blow up my family when they are out shopping at the mall.

Why is the right is always so willing to call the left whining crybabies when they're the ones cowering, as usual, in the corner? What's the matter, can't the jayzus save you from the big, bad terrorists?

The US already is and was focused on the hunt for Bin Laden in Afghanistan. Why you bring this up I have no idea.

Really? I seem to recall we've been depleting all of our resources in a war in Iraq for the last few years. Afganistan is hardly ever mentioned anymore...except for the "lefties" who are wondering what's going on there, too. Bin Laden is almost never mentioned either. And why should they? He's just the first in a looooong line of failures for this administration.

As for Iran and the bomb, here's my answer: let 'em have it, I'll lose no sleep if they use it on Israel. And, no, that's not an anti-semitic thing. The "jews" in Israel gave up their right to call themselves that when they decided to violate their own religion to found the state. We've wasted enough money, time and blood protecting one terrorist state from all of the others.

the country which instills that great fear in the bad guys

Yeah, they're the ones that are scared.

Posted by: Spoonman on September 9, 2006 1:04 PM


If we're the ones cowering in the corner, how come we back the guys with the guns, while you want them to retreat?

The leftist idiots in the press don't mention Afghanistan because the US is doing a great job there. If there were problems, you would hear about it because it plays into the cut and run agenda.

They are scared. You aren't. They live there. You live here. What does that tell you?

As far as the long line of failures goes, look at the left for that one. The disintegration of the family, the destruction of the culture, millions of aborted babies, the gloriously inept war on poverty, declining birthrates, the bankrupt welfare state, open borders, 100 million killed in leftist regimes worldwide, the destruction of public education, the HIV epidemic, and on and on and on. Let's focus on you leftist's failures for a while. Its easy pickens for me. Go right ahead.

Posted by: s on September 9, 2006 6:12 PM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?