Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I finished reading this book without my head exploding. In related news, the ultimate chapter is a supposed "refutation" of so-called "anti-realism." Leading aside the fact that one of the main figures Loux targets in this chapter is Hilary Putnam, who is NOT an anti-realist in any sense except in being an anti-metaphysical realist, he doesn't deal with any arguments older than 1981! Realists are so useless.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Uses and Disadvantages of History for LIfe

"And so it came to pass that Steve Forbes was prowling a bookstore in Naples, Florida a few years back looking 'for something interesting to read.' Forbes’ employees must live in dread that at such moments their maximum leader will stumble onto Max Stirner’s The Ego and Its Own or Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking; but happily for them, the quarry this time was Hannibal Crosses the Alps by John Prevas. And boy, did it ever get our correspondent thinking. First, he published a review of the book—well past its publication date–in his eponymous magazine, and thereby embodied a first principle of leadership: executive vanity will always trump timely coverage."

Who doesn't love Max Stirner? Full link here.


I'm sorry, this is just ridiculous. Yes. it is a misfortune that Governor Sanford cheated on his wife. But this is a man who was hell-bent on denying the most unfortunate of his constituents the resources they need to survive in a time of economic crisis in the name of a misguided political and economic ideology. He had to be overturned by his own legislature. He was going to use this fact about himself as a point in his favor as Republican candidate for president. He does not deserve our forbearance.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tell me what about this is fake or contrived:

Suck it, Simmons.

Friday, June 19, 2009

On Fragility

David Brooks, seconded by Andrew Sullivan, seem to agree that the Iranian regime is "fragile." I don't have fully formed thoughts on this, but it strikes me as a very strange characterization. Would you describe a government as fragile if it is threatened by enormous demonstrations? Fragile in what sense? It seems like the vast amount of effort expended by the demonstrators, perhaps millions of them, is an indicator of the stability of a regime. Additionally, I think the comparison of Iran to "other autocratic regimes" is inapposite. Iran has a vibrant public culture that would never have been allowed to develop in the the former Soviet Union and its satellites (which I imagine is Brooks's intended "autocratic regime").

I am also dubious of the idea that a governing system based on the "banishment of reality" is somehow inherently more fragile than one based on "reality." We only have to look at our very recent history to see how effective the government can be at manipulating "reality." Reality doesn't speak for itself, and can serve the interests of repressive regimes just as well as those we would be inclined to prefer.

(Brooks also identifies the shouting from the rooftops as a new custom, springing organically from the "new situation," but that's an homage to similar actions taken by Ayatollah Khomeini's supporters during the 1979 Revolution.)

Let's All Call Bullshit

On the Post's decision to let Froomkin go. Are they out of their motherfucking minds? The Post is filled with the most inept, serially stupid, war-mongering, incurious opinion staff in the nation. Their one asset was Froomkin. And now they've decided to junk him. Fire them all. Fire them all from your browsers, from your newstands, from you porches, from your trips to the fucking can. Let's hurry all of their news careers to their graves. Maybe then a new, more responsible media establishment, that cares about the truth, that cares about adversarial journalism, that cares about protecting the people from the depradations of those in power will emerge.

Boycott the Washington Post

Dan Froomkin let go from the Washington Post. What a crock of shit. Dan Froomkin has consistently demonstrated that he is the best White House reporter working for a mainstream newspaper, but the Post would rather their editorial direction go with their new hire, Bill Kristol, the legacy columnist with an absolutely atrocious track record of being wrong and war-mongering, and his neocon brother Charles Krauthammer. The only reason to read the post in the last 8 years has been Froomkin. There is no longer any reason anyone should read the Post. It is a den of thieves and insiders, who care for nothing except preserving the Beltway status quo. Reading over the last couple of months the Post try to fend off accountability for torturers and war criminals in the name of "bipartisanship" or "moving on" has been sickening, but this is the last straw. Shame on the Post. I used to have some sympathy for the current plight of newspapers, but now I am looking forward to your reduced role in our nation's public life. Rot in Hell.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Slow Day

Not much is catching my interest so far today. There's Bill Simmons's bitter attempt to deny Kobe his justly deserved recognition. You'll notice he employs a similar technique as Kristol's: he spends something like 80-90% of his column trashing Kobe, but at the end disingenuously says he still amongst the gods or whatever. Nice work there, Billy. Let's just agree that you should never say anything about the Lakers, as you are completely incapable of setting aside your Celtic partisanship.

The Times's resident conservatives continue to produce drivel. For all the snarling about postmodernism amongst conservatives, they sure like to emulate their writing style. If you can find a coherent line of argument in Douthut's article, you are a better person than I. And Brooks continues his grand tradition of sweeping generalizations unsupported by empirical fact. Good work guys. Keeping the grand tradition of Enlightenment reason alive! Brooks is just unsalvageable at this point, but you gotta wonder about Douthut. Maybe he's found adapting too difficult.

On a more positive note, Eric Rauchway and Matthew Yglesias have some interesting things to say about the Senate.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Also, fuck John Yoo.

As Usual, Atrios is the Voice of Reason

Compared to the frantic braying that is going on across the rest of the interwebs. Unfortunately, I don't think people will stop listening to the Armageddonites. We're too hard-wired for fight or flight. (thus ends my foray into amature evolutionary psychology).

(Although, honestly, it is probably on a par with the typical drivel put out by Pinker and his ilk).

Ariza cont.

John Hollinger says some similar things about Ariza (#7 in the Daily Dime). He also makes the great point that the Lakers got Ariza from the Magic!

Trevor Ariza

I don't think enough is said about how essential Trevor Ariza has been to the Lakers's recent success. Yes, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are the backbone of the team, and the guys who are going to shoulder the majority of the burden of scoring and facilitating the offense. But they alone are not sufficient to make the Lakers a championship team. They also need to be surrounded by players who can take advantage of the mismatches that they create .

As the post I've linked to above shows, Ariza is that guy. When Kobe and Pau draw in double teams, Ariza is there to take the 3-point shot, slash to the basket, get garbage rebounds, or whatever. He literally does anything you need him to do. He defines utility player. He plays tenacious defense, gets sneaky steals, and comes up with huge blocks. His most important skill, though, is just showing up when it counts the most. While I don't have a scientific survey of the Lakers's games this season, I can remember any number of times when the Lakers were struggling, and Ariza would come up with a huge play to ignite the offense. Who can forget the huge steal he made at the end of Game 3 (assisted by Lamar, of course)? The dagger threes he has hit all season? His tenacious, fierce, physical defense against Hedo Turkoglu in these finals?

It seems more and more to me that the Lakers weren't missing Bynum so much last year as they were missing Ariza. Admittedly, we probably still would not have won the Finals, as the Celtics were still too physical and hungry. They wanted it, and we shrank before their desire. But their path would have been much less easy with our talented young swingman roaming the parquet floor.

Wing-Nut Welfare Recipient Bill Kristol

Bill Kristol is at it again. I would just like to point out that the go-to move for the neo-conservatives is to raise the specter of Neville Chamberlain. As you can see, this is Kristol's modus operandi, which he disingenuously disavows almost immediately after making the comparison. Typical bait-and-switch nonsense. You should remember that people like Kristol are not interested in appealing to your intellect; they want to speak directly to your fears.

Kristol dismisses out of hand the contention that the US should stay out of Iranian electoral politics. He seems to think tht because it is Barack Obama and his "liberal internationalist" foreign policy speaking, and not Bush, that the message will somehow be better received. Color me skeptical. Our foreign adventurism has caused enough problems, and I don't think a change in the face of the regime will erase a half century of American misadventures in the region. If the situation deteriorates, then perhaps some symbolic gesture should be made. But as of right now, the Iranian people are doing a great job of their defending their rights. We should stay out of their way.

(Btw, does it strike anyone else as ludicrous that the title of the Washington Post's opinion blog where Kristol is posting is labeled "Postpartisan?")

Revelations from the Master


Netanyahu Thinks We're Stupid

As this post at TPM so trenchantly observes, Netanyahu completely ignored Obama's demand that the Israelis halt all illegal settlement activity. Additionally, his vision of a demilitarized Palestinian state is laughable and insulting. This speech does not represent any kind of substantive shift, and should not be treated as such. It is a carefully calibrated, political act that represents no commitment to change.

What I'm Reading

"Our fear was accompanied by a sense of awe that bordered on the religious. It is surely possible to be awed by the thing that threatens your life, to see it as a cosmic force, so much larger than yourself, more powerful, created by elemental and willful rhythms. This was a death made in the laboratory, defined and measurable, but we thought of it at the time in a simple and primitive way, as some seasonal perversity of the earth like a flood or tornado, something not subject to control. Our helplessness did not seem compatible with the idea of a man-made event."

-Don DeLillo, White Noise

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I like Chomsky on politics, but he's too much of a scientist to take philosophy seriously, to his own detriment.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Youthful Flashback

When I was in 5th or 6th grade, I read about the battle that is depicted in this book. It was also my first exposure to the Battle of Britain. We had a collection of books, kind of like an encyclopedia, except each book was concerned with a particular topic. The particular topic of the book in which I read about the Battle of Vienna and the Battle of Britain was called something liked "Greatest Battles." I seem to recall it also containing an account of the Ancient Egyptians defending Egypt from invaders, and an account of a battle whereby the Swiss defeated a much better equipped army of Habsburg knights.

Krugman in his cups


New York Times Runs Actual Story About People in Need, Instead of Trust Fund Babies Losing Their Williamsburg Lofts

Barbara Ehrenreich is one of the few journalists who covers the the working poor. I recommend her book, Nickel and Dimed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Changing our media, one columnist at a time

Fire Megan McArdle.

(h/t Andrew Sullivan)

That is all.

(That's a Brad DeLong homage, btw).

Wing-Nut Welfare Addendum

My idol Paul Krugman uses the expression "wing-nut welfare" to describe the system of think tanks and other institutions that support conservative idealogues while they are out of office (regard Donald Rumsfeld's move to the Hoover Institute after he was outed as secretary of defense, Karl Rove at Fox News, etc.). I think a minor corollary could be added, let's call it the Very Serious People corollary. Wing-nut welfare is basically the system whereby movement conservatives are garuanteed of a job, no matter what they do. The same can be said for establishment media figures, like Jeffrey Rosen, who after his notorious hit job on Sonia Sotomayor, was rewarded by Time Magazine with a feature article on her racial attitudes. Good grief.

New Name for Right-wing Echo-chamber

Puke funnel.

(h/t Atrios)

Classless Society

I think Eric Rauchway should be careful. All this talk about how we only torture brown people is just dirty identity politics that gets the right wingers frothing at the mouth and reaching for their guns.


Inaugural Blog Post

Welcome to Paul Krugman Like a Father to Me! This is basically a place for me (and hopefully some like-minded souls) to share ideas and links about the kind of things we find interesting. I admit that I am starting this mostly as an avenue for discussing the political issues of the day, but I imagine I will also comment on my other passions: sports, literature, philosophy, and music, among other things.

Fittingly enough, the inaugural link will be to Dr. Krugman's recent Robbin's Lectures at the London School of Economics:


I find his criticisms of the dismal science in his final lecture particularly interesting.