Here’s Your Scoop of Stupid With Sprinkles On Top: UPDATED


Tiger Beat on the Potomac today is writing about something called Reform Republicans, which sadly is not analogous to reform school.

Anyway, it seems that Wingnuttia noticed that they have not been winning many battles lately and so a crew of ‘em got together a wrote a pamphlet that they call Room to Grow (it’s a PDF, Fair Warning).

Politico describes it thusly: “The reformers say they want to move the GOP beyond its Reagan-era script of cutting taxes and shrinking government and toward a focus on what a more limited government can and should do, especially for the middle class.” In other words, it is another rebranding attempt this time by the so-called policy wonks (Peter Wehner, Yuval Levin, and hilariously Ramesh Ponnuru is part of the brain trust behind this Waterloo.)

How do we know this is just rebranding, you ask? Here’s the tell from the reformers themselves:

If anything, they say, their ideas would “reform” broken institutions by pushing them to the right.

So a two-page Politico think piece that tells us that the reform is to be more conservative.

UPDATE: just for shits and giggles I searched for all of the authors involved in this project just to look for one piece of information: their birth dates. You see, this is a project of the GOP’s hysterically named Young Guns Network (YGN), which at best seems to be wishful thinking. It is almost as if they were deliberately trying to obscure this information. None of the encapsulated bios give dates, most of these people do not have Wikipedia entries, and those that do have Wiki entries do not have biographical details as trivial as birth dates, though a few do list when they matriculated from undergraduate to graduate work.

Unless they were exceptionally gifted and enrolled in college while still wearing pull-ups, it seems likely that young guns is a relative term compared to the average age of the GOP; methinks that they probably are between late 40s and mid-60s, based upon what sketchy biographical detail I can detect. The pictures in the encapsulated biographies at the end of each section also give clues to age: many are silver-haired, a few are bald, and some pictures are clearly from another era, judging by the fashion of hair and collars. I’m willing to be wrong of course, but I think Young is a misnomer, but guns seems accurate.

With the exception of Ramesh Ponnuru, all of the Young Guns are white, and with the further exception of Carrie Lukas, all of the Young Guns are male.

Here’s Your Cheese Sandwich With a Side of Stupid


“It’s ludicrous that we are calling this a rape. Are you serious? I’ll tell you what’s wrong to this extent — he went and tattled to the police and destroyed her life. Are you joking? What a whiny country this is.”

–Hebephrenic TeeVee Dinner heir and vanity press owner Tucker Carlson, arguing that underaged boys are not rape victims, double-standard not withstanding…

Ross Douthat and the Temple of Poon


Professional scold and Saltpeter Lifetime Achievement winner Cardinal Ross Douthat takes another look at modern culture and finds it… wanting. He takes an argument from Fredrik De Boer that modern masculinity is violent (and needs a new role model) and revanchist Douthat blames (as always) on the sexual revolution of the ’60s (which we should note probably led to his parents conceiving this wet blanket).

Cardinal Douthat wants to rehab the pre-sexual revolution image of masculinity to rescue it from the filthy, dirty hippies who ruined it. But it is not that easy: whether we like it or not, modern masculinity is reflected in pop culture: lonely gunslinger/Rambo/James Bond, and all of it is built on male privilege and entitlement. But Douthat cannot see that because, well, his entitlement got in the way.

Anyway, it is a Tour-de-Derp. Read both articles and see for yourselves.

David Brooks and the United States of Amnesia


If you go back and read oral histories conducted in the 1950s and 1960s, you’d be amazed by how benign the labor market seemed back then. People would announce that they were moving to a new city and assume they’d be able to find decent work after they got there.

That image of a benign job market is pretty much gone (as expectations about what constitutes a good job have risen). Even incoming college freshmen seem to fear they will not find lucrative and rewarding work. Harsh economic thinking plays a much bigger role in how students perceive their lives. Their parents feel that anxiety even more acutely.


In the first place, they are very conscious of how much college costs. In 1974, 77 percent of students enrolled in their collegiate top choice. By 2013, only 57 percent were able to. Cost is a very important factor in why students decided to stay away from their favorite school.

Second, they saw college much more as job training than students before. In 1976, 50 percent of freshmen said they were going to college in order to make more money. By 2006, 69 percent of freshmen said that. Since 2005, the number of students who say they are going to college to get a better job has spiked upward.

Their overall values change. In 1966, only 42 percent of freshmen said that being well-off financially was an essential or very important life goal. By 2005, 75 percent of students said being well-off financially was essential or very important. Affluence, once a middling value, is now tied as students’ top life goal.


I’m not sure if students really are less empathetic, or less interested in having meaning in their lives, but it has become more socially acceptable to present yourself that way. In the shadow of this more Darwinian job market, it is more acceptable to present yourself as utilitarian, streamlined and success-oriented.

Gosh, I’m really mystified how all the optimism and altruism that existed pre-St. Ronnie could possibly be gone now?


Shorter Ezra Klein


People believe what they want to believe.

Klein has a chapter-length essay (I copied and pasted into Word to get a word count: 4,191 words) up on the first day of the news site VOX. Seriously. And it all comes down to my one short sentence. Six paragraphs in, there’s this:

“But Kahan and his team had an alternative hypothesis. Perhaps people aren’t held back by a lack of knowledge. After all, they don’t typically doubt the findings of oceanographers or the existence of other galaxies. Perhaps there are some kinds of debates where people don’t want to find the right answer so much as they want to win the argument. Perhaps humans reason for purposes other than finding the truth — purposes like increasing their standing in their community, or ensuring they don’t piss off the leaders of their tribe. If this hypothesis proved true, then a smarter, better-educated citizenry wouldn’t put an end to these disagreements. It would just mean the participants are better equipped to argue for their own side.”

I could have/should have stopped there. On the bright side, Vox is having a better first day that Nate Silver’s relaunched FiveThirtyEight.

(How Politics Makes Us Stupid Vox)

The Morning Quote (Moron Quote?)

Short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump

Short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump

“Around 2008, you had the president of the United States supporting traditional marriage, if you go back and look,” Trump opined to the hosts of Fox & Friends on Monday. “And, you know, maybe he should step down because of the fact, you think of a lot of people would like to see that very much. Perhaps he should step down.”

“I think it’s really unfair what they’ve done to [CEO Brendan Eich],” he added.

–Short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump making another false equivalency to Petunia and Pals’ hosts sitting on the Couch of Dumb.

(Raw Story)

Tengrain Presents…

Dear Diary 1

Dear Diary 2

Dear Diary 3

Dear Diary 4

Dear Diary 5

Dear Diary 6

(Peggy Noonan’s Blog)

(UPDATE: I’m putting this on the front page because it was mentioned on The Professional Left Podcast and people are looking for it. Fresher posts below. Thank you to Bluegal and Driftglass for the hat tip.)

My coruscating contempt for extremely anodyne David Brooks

bobo tongues the world surreal

Bobo’s latest column sounds like a plea for help, so of course I won’t give him any. He gets paid for this:

Within a few years, though, his mood has shifted from smarm to snark. There is no writer so obscure as a 26-year-old writer. So he is suddenly consumed by ambition anxiety — the desperate need to prove that he is superior in sensibility to people who are superior to him in status. Soon he will be writing blog posts marked by coruscating contempt for extremely anodyne people: “Kelly Clarkson: Satan or Merely His Spawn?”

My guess is that the divorce negotiations are not going well. David Brooks is not really my beat and I bow humbly to my betters…

UPDATE 1: As with all things Brooksian there is only one expert: Driftglass who has made throughout his blogging career a study of the major asshole, er, David Brooks. He should be getting his doctorate any day.

UPDATE 2: Mr. Charles Pierce at Esquire, long rumored to be cribbing Driftglass’ Brooks gig, takes a mighty swing at the bloviating piñata, and delivers several blows that should make the kiddies squeal with delight as they are showered with candy.

Obama touched a commie!

ABC tells us…

Obama stopped to shake Castro’s hand as he was walking to the podium to pay tribute to Mandela. The handshake between the presidents of the long-estranged Cold War rivals came at a ceremony honoring the life and legacy of the former South African leader at a soccer stadium in Johannesburg.

…which of course is reported at Breitbart as:

Obama campaigned in 2007-8 on a promise to meet American enemies “without preconditions,” and met and embraced the late Hugo Chávez of Venezuela in 2009. He has also pushed for negotiations with the Iranian regime–long before the current “moderate” president took power. President Obama seemed pleased to meet Castro, who also spoke at the memorial, and the handshake was broadcast live on television worldwide.

The only question remains: What does Jennifer Rubin say?

The most facile analysis of the Bezos-WaPo Deal

Leave it to the Business Insider’s Henry Blodget to write a fanboy post to his investor/boss Jeff Bezos and then miss the point for at least half of the article.

Now bear in mind, Amazon did not buy the WaPo, Bezos did:

Lastly, I’d guess that Jeff Bezos thinks there are many ways in which the news business might be complementary to Amazon.

How might the news business be complementary?

1. Amazon is already in the content production and distribution business–and news is just another kind of content. Amazon distributes massive amounts of print and digital content. The content the Washington Post publishes and distributes could be bundled or distributed with that content. And, similarly, the content that Amazon produces–mainly commerce-related, but increasingly media–could be integrated with the Washington Post’s content, offering more choices for customers and consumers.

If you are saying that the WaPo could use Amazon as another distribution channel, they could do that today for a fee to Amazon. But why should they when the internet itself is a distribution channel that is free and they have a very successful, much travelled portal. It is much more likely that Amazon would want to buy ads on the WaPo website today than vice-versa. What kind of business analysis is this?

2. Amazon is already in the subscription and media-gadget businesses. Subscribers to Amazon’s “Prime” delivery service already get to watch free movies and TV shows. Amazon Kindle buyers already have access to free books. It’s easy to imagine that Prime subscribers and Kindle buyers will soon have convenient, free access to the Washington Post–and that this access might make a Prime subscription or Kindle ownership more valuable. Washington Post reporters, meanwhile, could produce an endless supply of ebooks and Kindle Singles.

Again, Amazon did not buy the WaPo, and so why would the WaPo want to essentially give away free product to Kindle users? What kind of business analysis is this?

3. “News” is the digital equivalent of a high-traffic intersection: As people pass through to figure out what’s happening they might also stop to do some shopping. Content and commerce companies have long dabbled with combining the two experiences, but no one has really nailed it. Given Amazon’s expertise in affiliate marketing and advertising, it’s not hard to imagine that the Washington Post could quickly become a laboratory for the next generation of integrated content and commerce.

Gasp! Amazon will bring advertising to the WaPo (if Amazon had bought it)? What a brilliant idea, I bet no one ever thought about having ads in a news paper before! What kind of business analysis is this?

4. Amazon is getting into the local physical delivery business–a business that the Washington Post is already in. Could stuff ordered from Amazon be delivered with your morning newspaper? Why not? And your daily newspaper–or parts of it–could certainly be delivered in a box with your Amazon stuff. I doubt that Bezos is really interested in the print version of the Post, but as long as it exists, it might be fun to fiddle with.

Again, Bezos bought the WaPo, not Amazon. And even if it was Amazon, how does that change the WaPo business model except to drive the cost up? Someone pays for that.

In short, there are lots [of] cool synergies that Jeff Bezos and Amazon might want to experiment with.

Sooooo, if there are lots of cool synergies, then why didn’t Amazon buy it, Henry?

Blodget cannot separate Bezos from Amazon, and it seems that he really doesn’t understand ecommerce or media. He is embarrassing himself again with facile business analysis.

(Business Insider)