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

« Wealth Creation (?!) via Financial Engineering | Main | Are We Cranky? Is it the Economy or ... »

March 09, 2009

Political Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Maybe we should blame it all on Harvard. (Link thanks to Matthew Redard.)

* John Stossel asks some good questions about how much credit politicians do and don't deserve.

* Is California close to declaring bankruptcy?

* Are there more reasons to worry about water than about petroleum?



posted by Michael at March 9, 2009


"Are there more reasons to worry about water than about petroleum?"

Bah. Before moving to Arizona I read Cadillac Desert, a good read about the history of water in the West, published in the early 80s I think. It was full of predictions about how Phoenix would run out of water in 20 years (I moved anyway). This year, the reservoirs are at an all-time high. I'm not going to worry about it :-)

You'd think with all the disaster forecasts that the older ones here have seen in their lives we'd swear off this whole "expert predicts the future" thing.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher on March 9, 2009 1:49 PM

California is actually pretty average in its state tax burden as a percentage of income and its per capita state spending. If it's a French welfare state than a whole bunch of other American states are too. The problem is its utterly dysfunctional political system.

Posted by: MQ on March 9, 2009 2:02 PM

Asshole at work:


Posted by: Stu Pidd on March 9, 2009 3:01 PM

Stu - Amazing article. Sounds too much like malicious gossip, except that we know that the backstory is true. "A well-connected Washington figure, who is close to members of Mr Obama's inner circle, expressed concern that Mr Obama had failed so far to 'even fake an interest in foreign policy".'

Wait - I thought we were getting Mr. International Suave after eight years of Bush the Boor.

The American source said: "Obama is overwhelmed. There is a zero sum tension between his ability to attend to the economic issues and his ability to be a proactive sculptor of the national security agenda.

"There is a zero sum tension between..." Wow. That doesn't even make sense.

"That was the gamble these guys made at the front end of this presidency and I think they're finding it a hard thing to do everything."

Domestic policy and foreign policy. It's really asking too much of a president to at least pretend to care about both.

And did a State Department official really snarl, "There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment." It's hard to believe that and the other stuff mentioned in the article aren't just some wild rumors dished out to the press by some Obama/America-hatin' Foreign Office dude. I mean, we often treated the UK like crap, but we've never been that rude about it. And here everybody thought the Bush administration's incompetence, cluelessness, and oafishness was nonpareil.

That said, Gordon Brown is also a major-league asshole. Too bad it all wasn't just a personal insult, one arrogant douchebag to another, and not one douchebag to another while both are performing as representatives of their respective nations. (Those DVDs were a classy touch, no?)

Posted by: Moira Breen on March 9, 2009 5:27 PM

It has perhaps been rash of Harvard to allow itself to become more famous for its Business School than for anything else. People with good business training would have pointed that out. Didn't it know any?

Posted by: dearieme on March 9, 2009 7:48 PM

President Obama is a product of the quota system. He's been pushed through the education and political system, precisely because he's black, at a furious rate. He's never encountered the normal obstacles and frustrations even the most talented face.

This is the cause of his extraordinary confidence, if not arrogance. The frightening part of this is that he doesn't have a clue what he's doing. Competence in performance has never been demanded of him. Some commentators have suggested that he is drinking excessively at his nightly parties. I don't know if this is true, but it wouldn't surprise me. I've encountered this phenomenon of the quota system before. Recipients of quota largess are plagued by deep insecurity about their abilities, because they know that they've always been given a free pass.

Here's the story. I was hired as second in command of a new business, behind a young black man with an MBA from an Ivy League school. Within a few months, it became apparent to the entire team that he was a functional illiterate. He couldn't write a coherent memo. Not surprisingly, the team disintegrated into open fighting and backstabbing and work came to a complete halt. The black guy was fired after about 8 months.

Several weeks later he called me to ask me how I was doing. I told him that I had been transferred to another job within the company. He laughed and said that he had been hired by an American company in London for twice the salary.

Obama is an incompetent. He's also completely corrupt... not just in the usual sense, but catastrophically corrupt. Remember... he refused to be governed by public financing in the presidential election so that he could raise 3/4 of a billion bucks. I expect him to barely survive his first term. The specifics of his personal corruption will come out and the pressure to impeach and convict him will be enormous. He will be saved only because he is black. The left will scream that he is being persecuted by "racism."

I see a bad moon on the rise. We are headed toward the most severe constitutional crisis since the Civil War.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on March 9, 2009 8:59 PM

Dearieme, The Harvard Business School is nowhere near as famous (or as excellent) as the Harvard Medical School.

The business school isn't as good as the one up the Charles River at MIT. Like the current Leader of the Free World, the reputation is lightyears away from the reality.

Posted by: Brutus on March 9, 2009 8:59 PM

"President Obama is a product of the quota system. He's been pushed through the education and political system, precisely because he's black, at a furious rate."

Nobody forced him through the political system. He was elected by voters. Of course there has to be some other, nefarious explanation for Obama's success for you because he's black. Obama graduated magna cum laude from law school. Did all his professors fix his grades?

As to the rumor of heavy drinking, all I can say is that you have no standard of proof when it comes to people you hate. Any scurrilous rumor, no matter how ludicrous, will do. In the words of Clifford Odets, "Your brain is full of lice."

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on March 10, 2009 1:40 AM

The key line of John Stossel's article is, "During the Great Depression, many Americans kept producing in spite of the burdens imposed by the FDR's New Deal."

That's not a surprise, coming from Stossel, a self-confessed libertarian. He's also a gigantic hypocrite, since he admitted that government subsidized insurance paid for the damage to his beach house, built in a high risk zone, after it was washed out by a hurricane.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on March 10, 2009 1:58 AM

The web is full of idiots like you, Peter L. Winkler. How did you get so stupid?

I don't hate President Obama. There is nothing in anything I said to indicate that. On a personal level, I find him rather likeable.

Obama is probably the first editor of the Harvard Law Review to never publish an article in it. His rise through Chicago politics was entirely the result of his race.

You are too dumb to get this, Mr. Peter L. Winkler, but I wasn't even saying that Obama is not a very bright man. He is a product of the quota system.

The Democratic Party nominating system is an interlocking maze of quotas. Every step along the way, quotas rule. Obama is a very clever man who understood this quite well and took advantage of it.

You're a complete idiot and a fool, Peter L. Winkler. Ignorant race hustlers like you have become the bane of modern America.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on March 10, 2009 6:53 AM

You might also notice, Peter L. Winkler, that the Democratic Party has decreed that Obama's old Senate seat in Illinois is now a "black" property that cannot be held by a non-black.

If you will remember, this resulted in the seating of now disgraced Senator Burris by the since deposed Gov. Blago. Burris is hanging on by a thread.

It's fascinating how Democrats can, on the one hand, demand the constant imposition of quotas in every aspect of life, academia, business and politics, and then deny that quotas had any affect on the consequences.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on March 10, 2009 7:25 AM

Peter - I agree, the drinking and partying rumors are just that - scurrilous. Nor do I see any evidence that he's an affirmative action dumbass who was out of his league at Harvard. Then again, Bush was not a moron - by school standards, anyway - either. But that these men were "elected by voters" says nothing but that they were successful products of our dysfunctional election system - creatures of special interests. In this Obama is no different from any other of the sorry mediocrities positioned by party machines and monied interests for our voting delectation and delusion, but there is no doubt that in his case his race was a factor in his rapid rise to the top. That just happens to be true, and is no indicator of incompetence in itself. But I am not sanguine about the man's competence.

Posted by: Moira Breen on March 10, 2009 9:03 AM

Posted by Peter L. Winkler at March 10, 2009

You're still fighting that battle? Fine, you win. He's a genius. How's that working out?

Posted by: Ben Dover on March 10, 2009 9:19 AM

[Stossel]'s also a gigantic hypocrite...

So FDR did help get us out of the Depression. Thanks for clearing that up, Winkler!

Posted by: A. D. Hominem on March 10, 2009 11:39 AM

You will notice that the Wall Street Journal story on California conspicuously fails to mention the state's Mexicanization and the huge bill for immigrant welfare. It's the paper's — and most of our news media's — standard tunnel vision.

Yes, hypertrophied government is part of the problem. A lot of the growth of the state government is to provide social services to the border jumpers.

The legislature now includes many Mexican Americans. Some of them may be honorable, or honorable as politicians of any ethnicity go. But they come from a culture where political office is a license to vacuum up tax money for essential needs, like themselves and their cronies.

If there is a single most important reason for California's debacle, it's immigration.

As California goes, so goes the nation? Well, California is going fast.

Posted by: Rick Darby on March 10, 2009 12:10 PM


You can't believe any black person is capable of achieving anything without the benefit of lowered standards of achievement. When someone dares question your bias, you call them a race hustler and other epithets.


Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on March 10, 2009 5:41 PM

"You can't believe any black person is capable of achieving anything without the benefit of lowered standards of achievement. When someone dares question your bias, you call them a race hustler and other epithets."

Why should he or anyone else believe it? Affirmative Action makes it impossible to find out.

Posted by: anon on March 10, 2009 6:35 PM

anon, you make a very perceptive comment.

There is no doubt about Obama's intellect and personal charm.

What would he be capable of if he hadn't been petted and protected by the quota system? What would he be if he had had to face the same struggles that the rest of us face? We'll never know.

Peter L. Winkler, it is you who is debasing the political discussion. I'd be willing to bet that I have a lot more to do with blacks in my personal, religious, artistic and business life than you. This sanctimonious shit that you peddle is sliming the political landscape. I've been fed with up sainted race hustlers like you for some time.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on March 10, 2009 7:10 PM

"The Harvard Business School is nowhere near as famous (or as excellent) as the Harvard Medical School." I have no idea whether that's true within the USA: I am confident that it is untrue outside.

Posted by: dearieme on March 10, 2009 8:35 PM


"I'd be willing to bet that I have a lot more to do with blacks in my personal, religious, artistic and business life than you."

And you'd lose that bet. Last July I underwent orthopedic surgery to replace a broken artificial hip joint, and my anethesiologist was black. Since he held my life in his hands for six hours, you can't get much closer than that.

You may have met and interacted with many black people, but so what? It didn't teach you anythig positive.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on March 11, 2009 1:48 AM

Wow, what a bizarre exchange between Winkler and ST. "My anesthesiologist is black! So there!"

What possible fracking difference could that make to anything or anyone? Your anesthesiologist didn't kill you? And he was black! He was friendly and warm as he had you count backwards from 100? And he was black!

"Look!", shouts the Winkler, "I've had all these positive experiences with black people! So don't talk to me about race relations in this country! And let me tell about the time I had my tonsils removed by a Hispanic! It didn't even hurt! Take that you nativist immigration restrictionist xenophobes!"

What on earth are you talking about here, Winkler?

Posted by: PatrickH on March 12, 2009 11:31 AM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?