Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Kevin D. Williamson at National Review:

Believe it or not, the article is about charter schools. Liberals don't like them, and some of them say it's because they're a racket but the real reason is liberals are communist tyrants:
The Left’s heart is still in East Berlin: If people want to leave your utopia and have the means to do so, then build a wall. If they climb over the wall — as millions of low-income parents with children in private schools (very commonly Catholic schools) do — then build a higher wall. If they keep climbing – and they will — then there are always alternatives.
Also liberals are George Wallace:
But then, standing in the schoolhouse door when the poor, the black, and the brown want to enter is an ancient tradition for Democrats.
And you know what else is CommieWallace?
It’s a funny old world when being “pro-choice” means that people who object to abortion will be forced at gunpoint to pay for them. But that’s progressivism: a purportedly secular movement with a whole lot of “Thou Shalt” and “Thou Shalt Not.”
In rightwing world, some of the brethren endeavor to advance arguments to which outsiders (or at least credulous editors who wish to be considered even-handed) might respond. But there seem to be fewer of these all the time. Maybe it's because that particular budget is all eaten up by high-end, big-ticket pundits like George F. Will and Peggy Noonan; maybe organizations like National Review no longer believe the arguments can travel very far outside their own circles. Whatever the reason, Williamson represents the future of the movement: Not evangelists, but jeerleaders.

UPDATE. Speaking of which:

Well, at least it's a nice break from them calling him Hitler.

UPDATE 2. If it isn't out of keeping to mention the ostensible topic of Williamson's column, it appears charter schools aren't doing so hot:
Underscoring the risk to bondholders such as Nuveen Asset Management, two New York schools are set to shut at the end of this school year after their charters were revoked this month for academic shortcomings. The closings represent a default under terms of the $15 million bond deal that financed the land acquisition and construction of Brighter Choice’s middle schools for boys and girls, which opened in 2010 under the same roof. 
While charter schools are gaining popularity across the U.S. as an alternative to local systems, their default rate reached an all-time high last year of 5 percent of outstanding issues, according to a biannual study by the New York-based Local Initiatives Support Corp. That’s up from 3.8 percent in 2012.
Look on the bright side, citizens --  you're not losing your money to a Big Gummint grift, you're losing it to an honest, privatized grift! (h/t Atrios)


  1. sharculese11:11 AM

    Guys, remember, when the government pays for things we don't like, like massive military adventures, it's because we're traitors, but if it paid for things wingnuts didn't like, that would be tyranny.

  2. Cato the Censor11:28 AM

    Maybe one reason they keep dragging Orwell into the discussion is that they know he basically despised people like them and want to make sure he gets no rest by making him spin in his grave for eternity.

  3. I can't even with this crap about poor people wanting more school choice. Poor people are entitled to a great, free, public education--who is denying it to them and their children but the right wing and the for profit school industry? Its liberals who are proposing (ideally) systems for properly funding public schools, for art, recess, health care, and free community college and lowered prices on 4 year colleges. These are literally, factually, liberal proposals.

  4. redoubtagain11:31 AM

    Jonanistic, n: a form of "essay" containing a superficial mashup of stuff he doesn't like and inappropriate metaphors. Frequently found in stuck-together pages of the National Review.

  5. TGuerrant11:32 AM

    The "forced at gunpoint to pay for them" link goes to the 2012 Democratic national platform, which supported choice and the ending of the gag rule prohibiting foreign health care organizations receiving federal funds from discussing abortion with patients. Ain't no "at gunpoint" anywhere in it.

    Playing by his rules: Did you know Kevin D. Williams is a convicted child molester? Gee, no evidence there of that? Well, I was only asking what you think. Read between the lines... et slimecetera.

  6. redoubtagain11:39 AM

    You can feel KDW's gorge rising at the lower classes trying to give their children an education. (I mean, it's not like they pay taxes or vote or anything.)

  7. TGuerrant11:45 AM

    But education's so pointless and wasteful for those people. What are they going to do with it besides try to take Our Birthright away from us????

  8. coozledad11:45 AM

    It’s a funny old world when being “pro-life” means that people who provide women's health services are slaughtered in their house of worship.

  9. Ain't no "at gunpoint" anywhere in it.Not literally, but come on. It's right there in the "gag rule" part. Democrats opposed using the threat of withheld funds to force reactionary religious beliefs on poor people in other countries, which is edging perilously close to sending in the stormtroopers.

  10. Bizarro Mike11:49 AM

    Wait, is Bret Stephens saying Obama is like Orwell when he calls him Orwellian? Is that how they're using that word now? I think it makes more sense than the other way, so gold star.

  11. P Gustaf11:50 AM

    Man, NR is scraping the bottom of the barrel. I would expect there to be at least SOME difference between Buckley's mag and Breitbart's nuthouse. I guess not.

  12. coozledad11:53 AM

    My heart certainly isn't in East Berlin, but I might take it over some clownass state where pedos get federal dollars to shout Jeebus at a bunch of kids until they're unemployable imbeciles.

  13. rick perlstein:

    Well, ultimately, conservatism is about a tribal identity and not any particular policy goal. It’s about dividing the world into the saved and the damned, and policies are secondary or tertiary to that project.

  14. Hey, that's not fair. They'll always be employable at National Review.

  15. Eh, Breitbart is what you'd get if Buckley misplaced his thesaurus.

  16. Clicking over to the article, I can see that this terrifying Leninist crackdown consists of one guy writing in an unnamed, unlinked publication and a contrarian post on Gawker. CAN YOU FEEL THE BOOT ON YOUR NECK, BROTHERS?

    Those poor charter operaters must be quaking. I mean, we've got Gawker, and all they have are a billion dollars in hedge fund money and half the governors in the country on their side.

  17. Ellis_Weiner12:06 PM

    This times a bajilion. "They don't vote their interests. They vote their identity," someone who I wish was me, but wasn't, said.

  18. Poor people are entitled to a great, free, public education

    everybody is

  19. Your wish has been heard, and granted.

    "They don't vote their interests. They vote their identity."
    --Ellis Weiner

  20. Ellis_Weiner12:10 PM

    I hope so. Because that which doesn't kill Orwell makes him stronger, and since he's already dead...

  21. TGuerrant12:11 PM

    Williamson is so lame that last November the libertarian Mises Institute issued "Williamson's Howlers," stating, "Williamson lacks the ability to report facts accurately and his work contains preposterous errors."

    It concludes, "Rather than presume to instruct others in history and economics,
    Williamson should acquire some elementary knowledge of these subjects." But of course, Buckley's maw still needs filling.

  22. Ellis_Weiner12:13 PM

    My friend Paul Slansky keeps saying, re these people, "the barrel has no bottom." But my new theory (and it is, etc.) is that it's a kind of tesseract/impossible object barrel that consists of nothing *but* bottom.

  23. TGuerrant12:15 PM

    I like to think Ayn Rand is jealous of Orwell's supersonic RPMs and spends her eternity poking slumbering libertarians awake so they'll think of her... until their thoughts drift off to sexy fantasies of shorting derivatives.

  24. TGuerrant12:16 PM

    It's bottom all the way down?

  25. But my new theory (and it is, etc.) is that it's a kind of
    tesseract/impossible object barrel that consists of nothing *but*
    bottom.Wait, modern American conservatism being composed of a bunch of asses is your new theory?

  26. Ellis_Weiner12:31 PM

    No, that's my old theory. My new theory is about barrels. Each reinforces the other, you'll note.

  27. Helmut Monotreme12:39 PM

    How bad do you have to be before that organization dedicated to the memory of the 20th century's most mendacious hacks calls you out for dishonesty?

  28. Thing is, I don't see where this mighty Leftist opposition to noble charter schools is supposed to be. Williamson makes heavy use of Michelle Rhee's talking points ("When families are...given a choice, their demand frequently dwarfs the supply of charter alternatives.") without acknowledging that Rhee spent a decade advising Democrats. And hell, that Gawker piece which is his one supporting piece of evidence revolves around the Dread Lord Rahm Emanuel and his anti-public school policies.

    It's like these guys have a compulsive need to be the underdog, no matter how absurd that is.

  29. Helmut Monotreme12:47 PM

    I'm in favor of school choice. Mostly I'm in favor of every American's local public school being a good choice to get an education good enough to get them into the college or vocational program of their choice.

  30. tigrismus12:50 PM

    Wow, there are literally ones of people calling for eliminating public schools, some guy at Gawker and infamous Communist Warren Buffett.

    It’s a funny old world when being “pro-choice” means that people who object to abortion will be forced at gunpoint to pay for them.

    Charter schools are private schools that receive public funds, but I guess forcing those opposed to pay taxes to ensure profits is not nearly as bad as allowing women and their doctors to make their own medical decisions without your big, fat, not-paying-for-shit nose getting into everybody's business. Funny old world.

    In much of Canada, private health insurance is effectively banned. The existence of private insurance is a very strong indicator that there are some people who are not entirely pleased with Canada’s single-payer system. (Monopolies rarely have happy customers.) So they opt out, at least in part, exercising the right of exit that is the most fundamental of civil rights. This is an affront to progressive values. Solution? Ban private health insurance.

    What? People in Canada can't buy private insurance, but their buying private insurance shows how bad their system is? That doesn't even make sense, even if you ignore it's a blatant lie.

    But try opting out of Social Security or Medicare and see how long it
    takes for Uncle Stupid to put you in prison as a tax evader.

    It's easy to avoid BOTH of those with legal no consequence whatsoever, just move out of the country, idiot.

  31. BigHank5312:51 PM

    Kevin Williamson. Next question?

  32. Well--there's certainly leftist opposition to charter schools but I admit that the Democrats as a party have been captured by the for profit/monetize your misery charter school movement and the billionaires that back it. I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate Michelle Rhee, Eli Broad, and all those assholes.

  33. Gromet12:55 PM

    Ah, how liberals longed to dwell in East Berlin's sclerotic gray quietude, especially in the late 1960s and '70s... It lived and ever shall live in our hearts.

  34. What pisses me off about the entire charter school thing is that if you were to make a list of what charter schools are supposed to be offering it should be obvious that public schools could/should/would be offering the exact same things, more cheaply, if only given the support and the money to do so. In NY charter schools are literally stealing public space away, without cost to themselves, while refusing to educate all children who come to them.

    Charter schools are, in effect, "public schools" in the sense that they are taxpayer funded. The only difference between them from the taxpayer's point of view is that there is less accountability, a lower standard of treatment for teachers/staff, the taxpayer does not retain control over the assets that are purchased like desks etc.... and the big ticket items like the school itself are still being paid for. Meanwhile the charters build in a profit that they skim off the top.

    The whole thing makes me so very, very, angry.

  35. Oops. I just made this point below. Should have refreshed and seen you were going to make it better than I was.

  36. Helmut Monotreme12:58 PM

    They are a con on so many levels. If they had to compete on a level playing field with public schools, they would be crushed.

  37. Jay B.12:58 PM

    The Left’s heart is still in East Berlin.

    No doubt! I mean, have you been there lately? Mitte is FUCKING AWESOME. I mean old "West" Berlin was funky back in the day -- what with notable conservatives like Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, David Bowie and Lou Reed hanging out and debating the genius of Milton Friedman (by the way, did you know that the old island of Berlin was exempt from Germany's two years of national service, so if you didn't want to join the defense forces and were a German kid, you moved to Berlin instead of wasting two years of your life in compulsory national military service.) -- but Berlin these days is the coolest place in the world. The East part is just phenomenal, but the whole city just pulsates. I...Wait...This has nothing to do with anything, does it?

    Well, fuck him. The Right's heart is still in the fucking bunker with Himmler, their truest love and person they most want to emulate, maybe Goebbels.

  38. "Barrels are thinner at one end, slightly thicker in the middle, and thinner again at the other end."

  39. BigHank531:01 PM

    They do need to be the underdog, and I can even tell you why.

    Q: When is okay--or even approved--to cheat?

    A: When you are on the side of good, and you're losing the contest with the bad guys.

    This hits some kind of tribal/primate reflex that's pretty goddamn deep. It shows up in Native American and African myths, fairy tales, and even most teen screwball comedies. (Example: One Crazy Summer, wherein the goofy townies steal the rich d-bag's Ferrari and use it to repower their boat.) If you can convince yourself that you're the underdog, and you're losing, you've granted yourself moral license to lie, cheat on your taxes, sleep with the babysitter, whatever. It'll all be okay, because otherwise the bad guys win.

    This is why the right takes the losing side in so much of the culture war. They're playing to lose.

  40. Ellis_Weiner1:02 PM

    That's *your* theory.

  41. I'd like to see Charter schools have to post an enormous bond before proposing to build a school in any community. And I'd like to see them forced to hire only top certified teachers with full retirement benefits. Plus I'd like to see them forced to provide health care services, recess, etc... to all kids who come to them. Of course I'd like to see those things, minus the bond, in public schools as well. But I think they are their owners (charters I mean) ought to have to indemnify the public when they go under.

  42. I'm not even sure what a numbnuts like Williamson would consider a "leftist." If he honestly considers Gawker to be a hard-left website (as many wingnuts seem to), then I'm not sure who isn't a leftist. But it's weird because stories about education seldom make a big splash in the mass media, and when they do it's rarely on the "leftist" side. The last one I can think of was when Mayor de Blasio tried to change NYC's "co-location" policy, the one allowing charters like Success Academy to commandeer public school facilities without paying for their use. All that proved was how untouchable Success Academy was, as the media and the governor both flocked to its defense.

  43. Which is mine.

  44. But I think they are their owners (charters I mean) ought to have to indemnify the public when they go under.But what would be the point, then?

  45. Gromet1:07 PM

    Turns out that expanding freedom of speech is the same thing, in principle, as dispatching goon squads to murder people who exercise it. Who knew? (But we're the "Orwellian" ones.)

  46. But try opting out of Social Security or Medicare and see how long it takes for Uncle Stupid to put you in prison as a tax evader.Thanks to GOP cuts to the enforcement budget, a pretty goddamned long time ... if you're rich, or a corporation. Still, that's the risk you run when you try to evade your taxes.

  47. Ellis_Weiner1:08 PM

    I don't think so. Like Christians whining about how "persecuted" they are in our "Christian nation," they claim victim status both to rally their troops and to try to exert moral pressure to get what they want.

    But in the culture war I think, as we've said here so often, they're just inept and aesthetically--and existentially--unsophisticated. They don't play to lose. They do the best that they can, bless their hearts. But their *souls* are small and full of resentment. They love being indignant, because it feels like self-respect. (This, of course, aside from the professional cynics, who are only in it for the money.)

  48. We don't pay for wars anymore; we put them on the credit card and let it ride. But any social program? there you're supposed to pay cash up front.

  49. In NY charter schools are literally stealing public space away, without cost to themselves, while refusing to educate all children who come to them.

    Fucking co-location - I still can't believe how much sympathy Eva Moskowitz got over that. I don't see how anyone could look at NYC's school policies and at Success Academy's terrible outcomes and still think that di Blasio was in the wrong. But that's the catch - no one ever does. Charter schools (and indeed, the entire "school choice" concept) operate on an emotional level far removed from the facts on the ground. Do a few photo ops with some kids you've bused in, slap together some propaganda "documentaries" like Waiting for Superman, and you've got everyone on your side before you even start talking.

  50. Riggsveda1:12 PM

    These people murdered satire. These are eunuchs standing athwart history screaming "You can have my powerful spermatazoa when you can pry it from my cold dead loins!" Well, where's the fun in watching that, I ask you.

  51. is Kevin Williams a convicted child molester? Questions have been raised by some internet commenters. I personally take no position on the issue but reasonable persons may disagree.

  52. mgmonklewis1:37 PM

    Great. Now I'm haunted of images of Ayn Rand as the Ghost of Christmas Derp, nightly visiting the dreams of libertarians in her burlap negligée.

  53. The problems here are several-fold.

    1.) Great public education costs money, which must come from taxes. And as we all know, taxes are tyranny. Worse, the money collected goes to teachers. Hence, the only American way to deal with it is to slash taxes and defund the schools.

    2.) Anything government is doing is by definition bad.

    3.) Here in America, as part of the great privatization experiment, we use government to collect money that is then handed to corporations. In this case, private and charter schools. "Public" education interferes with that model.

    4.) Poor people who receive adequate educations may no longer be content to serve as doormats for the wealthy, and educated people tend to be uppity, if you know who I mean, and I think you do.

    No, Aimai: In the coming conservative paradise, the spawn of the wealthy will sit through excellent educations and receive gentle-persons' "C"s while the poor and minorities get what they so richly deserve--scorn and degradation.

    I can haz Rightwing Wurlitzer job now?

  54. mgmonklewis1:44 PM

    Yup. Our public school has to educate all the students the private school won't take, including those with behavioral and developmental disabilities — and there are a lot of them here. Yet I'm not aware of any extra funding the public school gets for shouldering this burden, but it does still have to meet the same arbitrary testing standards as the private schools who can choose their own testing demographic.

  55. mgmonklewis1:46 PM

    Those long summer nights, lingering over a cold, boiled potato and a mug of stale beer, watching incomprehensible Bulgarian film shorts until the electricity shut off at midnight . . .

  56. In much of Canada, private health insurance is effectively banned.

    For example, across most of the tundra and nearly all of the taiga, there are no health insurance subscribers because NOBODY LIVES THERE. Q.E. Derp

  57. While chain-smoking and bitching about her Social Security check being late again.

  58. Add to that things like Indiana simply issuing new (much lower) standards for charter schools--and then ignoring those standards when the charter schools couldn't live up to even those.

  59. ohsopolite2:03 PM

    And some of them already work there.

  60. John Wesley Hardin2:15 PM

    "Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies ("cheese eating-surender monkeys; freedom fries"), denial is wisdom ("I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.”) and capitulation is victory (And a year from now, I’ll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush)."

  61. John Wesley Hardin2:17 PM

    Ellis Weiner said it; I saw it on the Internet.

  62. John Wesley Hardin2:21 PM

    [Russian Accent, Rattling of Phlegm] "You gave people gifts?!?

  63. Gromet2:27 PM

    Excellent points, and to add a 5), if I may... With a charter school, you can feel ownership and entitlement.

    How's this play out? A friend of mine who has worked in both public and charter schools said the parents are an added hassle in the charter situation. Many view themselves as the school's benefactors, and therefore expect exceptional treatment -- and the school feels pressured to comply. Otherwise, they fear these benefactors will take to social media to blast the school as unresponsive to needs, cruel to Little Johnny, etc., which could snowball into a bad rep, reduced enrollment, ultimately to shutdown. So you get the mom who brings a snack for her child at 10:00 am every day, and insists on driving straight to the front door to hand the snack to an admin asst, even though the admin asst has real things to do, and even though the driveway's security gate is supposed to never open between start of day and EOD.

    A public school would just tell the mom, "Send your kid with the snack at 7:30, and if you forget, there's metered spots on the street." Can't do that when the mom has the power, which is of course why freedom-hating liberals hate charter etc etc.

  64. John Wesley Hardin2:28 PM

    Public education is soshulism where our children are indoctrinated with the liberal values of knowing where babies come from and other blasphemies like evolution and so-called global warming. Also no Jesus allowed. Those are literally, factually, liberal agendas (according to my impeccable sources, who are trustworthy white people).

  65. Gromet2:33 PM

    Nice try, John Wesley Hardin, but your Alinskyite post will not distract us from #Benghazi.

  66. John Wesley Hardin2:40 PM

    Fred Clark (of the Slacktivist Clarks) writes eloquently about the addictive nature of righteous indignation, and how that addiction is rampant on the religious right. Of course, it's not restricted to the right; plenty of progressive purity police are powered by the same delirious sense of Outrage! but it is built into the religious right's firmware in a more fundamental way.

  67. JennOfArk2:43 PM

    You know what else is tertiary in conservatives?

  68. John Wesley Hardin2:44 PM

    Fucking commie.

  69. JennOfArk2:45 PM

    If this was twitter, RedScareBot would show up right about now.

  70. JennOfArk2:50 PM

    Whereas Jonanism (coined by calling all toasters, who shows up here from time to time) is mental masturbation (though that's not the original def. for it by c.a.t. but...it's a better one).

  71. Lancelot Link2:55 PM

    Someone who writes for the National Review is actually, with his bare face hanging out, comparing his political enemies to segregationists.

  72. LookWhosInTheFreezer3:06 PM

    ...by making him spin in his grave for eternity.

    Perpetual Motion! Galt be Praised!!

  73. LookWhosInTheFreezer3:15 PM

    I love when the people who have 2nd Amendment dreams of turning America back into a Deadwood style free-for-all, suddenly use "at gunpoint" as if it's a bad thing.

  74. GeniusLemur3:16 PM

    "From public schools to health care, the intent is constrain people and prevent them from opting out."
    aka, "Those horrible liberals will force you to get an education and have health insurance! The fiends!"

  75. John Wesley Hardin3:19 PM

    Is it Hitler?

  76. smut clyde3:22 PM

    I mean, have you been there lately? Mitte is FUCKING AWESOME.

    Mehr. The hip young people who flooded Prenzl'berg all have families now and there's barely room to walk on the footpaths among all the baby-buggies.

  77. GeniusLemur3:24 PM

    "If people want to leave your utopia and have the means to do so, then build a wall."
    "But then, standing in the schoolhouse door when the poor, the black, and the brown want to enter is an ancient tradition for Democrats."
    So poor people are walled in after liberals won't let them in? Does he have a point here, other than "liberals = everything else I hate"?

  78. GeniusLemur3:25 PM

    If you start thinking like a wingnut (it's technically called the egocentric solar system), it makes sense.

  79. smut clyde3:26 PM

    Charter schools (and indeed, the entire "school choice" concept) operate
    on an emotional level far removed from the facts on the ground.

    But it was called SUCCESS ACADEMY.
    How can you possibly oppose SUCCESS ACADEMY? Why are you against SUCCESS?

  80. smut clyde3:29 PM

    Perhaps Jenn is referring to Spiro Cheat, erstwhile vice president.

  81. . . . plenty of progressive purity police are powered by the same delirious sense of Outrage!

    Which I suspect is behind a lecture I recently received from someone for not including "QUC" as part of "LGBT" in something I wrote. As far as that person was concerned, my failure to include those letters OBVIOUSLY meant I held serious bias against people with those qualities.

  82. bekabot3:31 PM

    May the great spirits upon whom these scoundrels have called rise from the dust and plague them interminably for the rest of their lives, amen.

    (I am so out of a sense of humor.)

  83. GeniusLemur3:31 PM

    "But try opting out of Social Security or Medicare and see how long it
    takes for Uncle Stupid to put you in prison as a tax evader."
    Wow, the government will imprison you as a tax evader just because you didn't pay your taxes. How appalling.

  84. GeniusLemur3:33 PM

    "The Left’s heart is still in East Berlin."
    Yeah, can't throw a stone without hitting a liberal who's just published a nationally-syndicated article about the Berlin wall and how wonderful it was, can you?

  85. Trouble is, even when the spirits DO plague these idiots, they hear the moaning and rattling of chains and think, "Wow! They're cheering me on!"

  86. That's why it's always liberals who are proposing building walled-off survivalist communities in the mountains of Idaho.

  87. smut clyde3:40 PM

    "But then, standing in the schoolhouse door when the poor, the black,
    and the brown want to enter is an ancient tradition for Democrats."

    There has been a lot of rhetoric over the last few years about building walls to keep out poors, blacks and browns who want to enter, but I don't recall it coming from Democrats.

  88. Ain't no "at gunpoint" anywhere in it.

    Don't forget that Williamson is writing for people who truly believe that being told they can't say "ni**er" is exactly the same as being a Holocaust victim, that paying taxes is exactly the same as having your kidney removed and sold at auction, that going to the DMV is exactly the same as being sentenced to 12 years forced labor in a Siberian gulag.

    In other words, people with no sense of proportion and no real grasp of reality.

  89. But, but ... they even wore two wetsuits.

  90. If he honestly considers Gawker to be a hard-left website (as many wingnuts seem to), then I'm not sure who isn't a leftist.Now you're catching on.

  91. They're not so much eunuchs as they're suffering from epic retromission. Where's the fun in that? It's in listening to them bellow while never being able to make the money shot.

  92. satch3:47 PM

    Derelict: Every point you have mentioned is true in spades, and progressives are at fault because these talking points have not been taken on directly and been refuted hard and often. Aimai, I remember you once told me, in response to a post about taking on the anti choice crowd by hitting them directly with the fact that a blastocyst is not a child and a fertilized egg is not a baby, that our arguments won't be won with dictionaries. Actually, that's exactly how they're won, and that's been the secret of conservative success in cultural debates: they jump in at the earliest opportunity and define the terms and parameters of debate. "Taxes are tyranny", "teachers are lazy government employees", "school choice is freedom" (even when the spots in charter schools are so limited that they are assigned by lottery and are so expensive that the poor can't afford them even with vouchers), "private for profit corporations are more efficient than government" (even though the introduction of the drive for profit completely undermines the effort to actually take the time necessary to educate children), "pro choice forces people at gunpoint to pay taxes for something they don't believe in" (even though government collects money and then buys a lot of things WE don't believe in, like unnecessary wars, oil company subsidies, funding to faith based organizations, etc). THIS is how the Right argues, and every time we let these assertions slide, we lose ground. Ted Cruz, nuts as he is, is especially adept at arguing like this, and our side better be ready to step up our game.

  93. Uh, okay, I try to remember to include Q, but "UC"?

  94. I want to take this comment for a long ride in my Trabant, after which we can wait in the crocodile for a new pair of shoes.

  95. And under the genius of No Child Left Behind, the failure to get those with behavioral and developmental disabilities to pass the same standardized tests as everyone else means the school's federal funds can be reduced because it's a failing institution.

  96. satch3:51 PM

    Well, those were the Democrats of sixty five years ago. They're counting on the average Beauregard T. Bubba's memory not going back that far.

  97. John Wesley Hardin3:51 PM

    Ah, yes, the 'nattering nabobs of sulpha drugs' guy.

  98. U = Undecided
    C = Cis

  99. John Wesley Hardin3:52 PM

    C = Cis
    B = Boom Ba

  100. And hoping Beauregard doesn't look at that and say out loud, "Damn but Wallace was right."

  101. satch3:56 PM

    Easy... a Leftist is anyone who points at a conservative and laughs.

  102. I especially love the double-reverse-axle maneuver that has to be performed going from 1) and 2) into 3). Williamson tries to do it by sharting out a cloud of "ink" about Catholic schools, but of course it's not the existence of private schools, even parochial ones, but the removal of taxpayer resources from public schools in order to hand them to private entities with no strings attached. So yeah, when my tax dollars are handed to for-profit corporations with no accountability, I think government is doing something bad. Yet in that situation, Williamson would prefer to have my money taken away at gunpoint, with no electoral recourse whatsoever. So who's the authoritarian now? [SPOILER: Him.]

  103. Buckley meets Breitbart


  104. QUC? Last I heard, the proper extension was "QIA." Is there a listserv or something I can sign up for that will update me on Proper Progressive Terminology?

  105. Did you know that Hillary invented the whole Obama was born in Kenya thing? True wingnut fact. Also MLK, real conservative, bet he voted for Goldwater and everything.

  106. THIS^^

    WTF is with these people? "Liberals want you to have a long, happy, healthy, and interesting life. But that's un-American and wrong, so you must fight against it with every fiber of your being. Smoke if you got 'em."

  107. Meanwhile, in real life, a conservative on Fox said with a straight face that MLK would have wanted people to have license plates with the confederate flag on them.

  108. Dunno. I'm thinking I need a subscription in order to keep up with the designation of the moment. Given how vehement the lecture was, I'm pretty sure I would have gotten chewed out for using "IA instead of "UC". But that was two weeks ago, so things may have changed.

  109. Once again, the breeders ruin everything.

  110. ColBatGuano4:43 PM

    Some people say....

  111. LittlePig4:48 PM

    Lack of a functioning soul?

  112. ohsopolite4:48 PM

    Step away from the pompoms, Mr. Hardin.

  113. LittlePig4:50 PM

    Conservatives would note you left out the word 'camp' at the end...

  114. LittlePig4:52 PM

    Tee hee! 'sharted'.


  115. John Wesley Hardin4:54 PM

    I was thinking more along these lines:

  116. actually yeah

  117. LittlePig4:57 PM


  118. LittlePig5:02 PM

    bless their hearts

    (insert banjo chord here)

    Hello there stranger how do you do
    there's something I'd like to say to you
    You seem surprised I recognize
    I'm no detective but I just surmise

    You're from the place I'm longing to be
    your smiling face seems to say to me
    You're from my homeland my sunny homeland
    tell me can it be?

    Are you from Dixie I say from Dixie where the fields of cotton beckon to me....

  119. Like a landsman with the mamaloshn, you should write such things!

  120. LittlePig5:06 PM

    The inimitable Grandpa Jones.


  121. LittlePig5:10 PM

    Leo Rosten smiles on ya, mench.

  122. LittlePig5:14 PM

    No way! You're saying Kevin D. Williams is a convicted child molester?. That's good to know.

  123. LittlePig5:17 PM


  124. Jay B.5:18 PM

    It's true! We're so lame!

  125. LittlePig5:23 PM

    mds's Conservative lemma:

    "A barrel solid of revolution composed of parallel circular top and bottom with a common axis and a side formed by a smooth curve symmetrical
    about the mid-plane."

    They love jumping on the crazy wagon, they REALLY like being holier-than-thou, then reality bitch slaps them.


  126. LittlePig5:24 PM

    And so busy!

  127. LittlePig5:26 PM

    And if you don't think it's a gag rule, I heard the local Lege (of my beloved Arkansas no less) give multiple statements including the phrase 'stuffed down their throat'.


  128. LittlePig6:04 PM

    Oh good God, seriously?!

    I get so weary of double-speak.

  129. Smarter than Your Average Bear6:28 PM

    And shoot anyone who tries to leave

  130. Smarter than Your Average Bear6:32 PM

    Dear Kevin D. Williamson - may the fleas of a thousand camels infest your butthair. May you walk down the street constantly scratching your asshole and leaving visible skid marks on your pants.

  131. The Left’s heart is still in East BerlinYup, as the election of Bill de Blasio demonstrated:

    First we took Manhattan,
    Then we, uh, left our heart in East Berlin.

    ... Wait, let me start again.

    It's a long road to East Berlin,
    But my heart's left there.
    Something something abortions at gunpoint.

  132. Socialist Cubone6:58 PM

    Why would you need to include Cis? And why not Straight, then?

  133. AGoodQuestion7:13 PM

    Williamson cites John Cook's Gawker entry about banning private school as evidence that it's an imminent proposal from The Left™. If you look at the link you see that the Gawker commenters immediately start pushing back. It's also pretty apparent that Cook is mainly doing this as a thought experiment. Apparent to anyone with fifth grade reading comprehension skills, anyway.

  134. AGoodQuestion7:19 PM

    Its liberals who are proposing (ideally) systems for properly funding public schools, for art, recess, health care, and free community college and lowered prices on 4 year colleges.
    You've got to remember that the funding of public schools and health care are socialist, and that learning art turns little boys... you know, funny. It is indeed a funny old world.

  135. J Neo Marvin7:26 PM

    "I don't like your liberal fascist business, mister."

  136. AGoodQuestion7:27 PM

    Williamson makes heavy use of Michelle Rhee's talking points ("When families are...given a choice, their demand frequently dwarfs the supply of charter alternatives.") without acknowledging that Rhee spent a decade advising Democrats.
    Very true. There are even pictures.

  137. AGoodQuestion7:35 PM

    I remember a few original flavor Star Treks where Kirk would fatally blow the mind of some previously all-powerful AI by turning its own logic against it. KDW is like one of those AIs except that his logic betrays him without a Kirk to prompt him.

  138. AGoodQuestion7:40 PM

    Orwell will rise from his grave and lumber to the NRO offices with a craving for BRAAAAAAIINS?!? No, wait, that won't work.

  139. AGoodQuestion7:47 PM

    Why are you against SUCCESS?
    I dunno, I guess it's just cuz I HATE AMERICA!

  140. billcinsd8:13 PM

    We're harnessing the power of what mds calls "attribution decay" for stuff quoted on the internet.

  141. billcinsd8:14 PM

    The Postal Service proves this. 75 years of pensions paid up front

  142. billcinsd8:17 PM

    and a re- (or perhaps Rhee-) in front of education. Because who wouldn't want a good, free Rhee-education camp.

  143. I can only guess that "straight" is now considered a pejorative among the guardians of purity. It's either that or some (many?) of the people trying to enforce that term don't really understand what it means.

  144. Sounds like there's a seller's market for rugged rubber baby buggy bumpers.

  145. I think that lemma would lead its fellows off a cliff.

  146. billcinsd9:11 PM

    Wasn't it Horst Wessel who had that big hit with "I Left My Heart in East Berlin". OTOH, Horst Wessel may have Lied and it may have been Wilhelm Pieck

  147. billcinsd9:22 PM

    I would have guessed Jonanism was spilling your on the ground to water the Tree of Liberty, Cheetohs, and Sharts

  148. billcinsd9:27 PM

    How about a Klein Bottle? It has no boundary and it is a one-sided surface which, if traveled upon, could be followed
    back to the point of origin while flipping the traveler upside down

  149. billcinsd9:29 PM

    That's worse than Leroy Brown bad and Leroy was the baddest man in the whole damn town

  150. bekabot9:59 PM

    Unrepentant Scrooge to Marley's ghost: "Why, thank you, my old friend!! That was the best Christmas ever!!"

    (Scrooge especially enjoyed explaining to the graveclothes-seller that tomb-robbery was a worthy profession and the apogee of creative destruction in action. It was a long speech, and the old-clothes man advised Scrooge to get a publisher — and actually recommended one, since, as books were once made from rags, ragpickers and booksellers used to work hand-in-hand. At that point, however, the Spirit hauled Scrooge away by the scruff of his nightshirt, so a certain number of deathless thoughts had to remain undelivered. Nevertheless, all in all, it was for Scrooge a joyous occasion.)

  151. Now, now.

    It's been a long road
    Getting from there to here
    It's been a long time
    But my time is finally near
    And I can feel the change in the wind right now
    Nothing's in my way
    And they're not gonna hold me down no more
    No, they're not gonna hold me down
    'Cause I've got faith of the heart
    I'm going where my heart will take me
    I've got faith to believe
    I can do anything
    I've got strength of the soul
    And no one's gonna bend or break me
    I can reach any star
    I've got faith
    I've got faith, faith of the heart

  152. mortimer200010:13 PM

    standing in the schoolhouse door when the poor, the black, and the brown want to enter is an ancient tradition for Democrats.

    Unlike the door to the voting booth, beyond which even the poor, the black, and the brown with shiny new photo ID's ain't gettin' past the ghost of William F. Buckley.

  153. Christopher Hazell11:16 PM

    Was wondering if he was going to address the, you know, ACTUAL walls along our country's ACTUAL borders to keep people from moving around.

    The ideologue may say that a wall is a wall is a wall, but in the case of a wall, intent matters: A society with barriers to keep out invaders is protected; a society with barriers to prevent exit is imprisoned.

    Ah, I see, I see.

    Of course, those walls to keep invaders out are also the only walls that keep us stuck in America rather than moving to a country that uses taxes in a way we'd prefer, but what-ev.

    So, yeah, modern governments are designed to take your money and spend it on morally appalling shit you hate, and they're also designed so that you aren't allowed to opt out; you aren't allowed to reject specific programs you don't like, nor are you allowed to reject the state entirely, and moving to a different state is intentionally made to be very difficult because of course societies must protect themselves from invaders.

    And the Democrats are fully committed to maintaining this status quo.

    That's all obviously true.

    So... which right-wingers at the National Review dislike this state of affairs? Which Republican senators or congressmen are trying to change it?

    I mean, suppose, just as a thought experiment, that I don't like the global gag rule and I don't want my tax dollars to go to any program that won't discuss abortion? Suppose I don't want my tax dollars going to unproven charter schools? Suppose I don't want my tax dollars to pay for the Iraq war? The drone program? CIA Black Sites?

    Any Republicans want to stand up against Utopia's Jailors and help me opt out of those things?

  154. smut clyde3:32 AM


  155. I'm so glad I clicked this at 6:15AM. No need for that second cup of coffee now!

  156. I'm being cyberstalker here by some crazed loon who thinks I was too Ferguson protestors somewhere. Roy seems to delete him but I still get notices that he's stalking me. They really hold a grudge--I don't think they are bots at this point. Its quite personal for them.

  157. Can someone tell me what QUILTBAG means? I'm afraid to look it up.

  158. Yes but the argument is not won one on one, in a discussion with an actual person. "Taxes are tyranny" is pushed at a higher level, on Fox news, on radio, iin churches. Some guy shouting "taxes are tyranny" or using logic or whatever to me is not going to convert me--they don't need to convert me. They are preaching to the converted for firm up their convictions, in places and times where there is no rebuttal.

  159. If you make enough money, you stop paying Social Security taxes once you reach the cap. So the average working person pumps 6.5% of their gross pay into SS, but the average $1 million/year MOTU stops paying anything at all after the first (I think) $110,000 of income.

  160. There's no bottom to a Conservative Barrell.

  161. E-Benghazi, surely?

  162. And the fashions:


  163. I thought Hillary was actually Obama's mother, in a mating orchestrated by Alinsky himself with that Marxist pedophile black guy poet. He was put in a rush basket made of copies of Mao's Little Red Book and floated down the Nile to Kenya where he was drawn from the waters by a young Anthropologist...And now you know the rest of the story.

  164. Some kinds of severe brain lesions will freeze your facial muscles while rendering you incapable of logical thought. Creeping Republicanism is its colloquial name.

  165. Marion in Savannah8:29 AM

    I thought it was barrels all the way down...

  166. satch8:49 AM

    Oh, I agree with the shouting part, but, for example, I was back in my home state of PA for a few weeks during the '12 presidential campaign, and I had several conversations with Romney supporters who were enthralled with the idea that he would "run the government like a business", or the idea that he was responsible for the "Massachusetts Miracle" (which was a figment of his campaign's imagination), or that he was strongly pro life. In each case, I was able to rebut the campaign bullshit with my actual experiences as a twenty two year resident of MA and with Romney as a governor. If I didn't convince them to vote for Obama, I at least engaged them on the demonstrated fallacies that Mitt's campaign was based on, and that was my point: when you're engaged, you have to fight back. At some point, the Pug candidate is going to hit the Dem candidate, whoever she is, with this blizzard of bullshit, and she's going to have to engage the Pug opponent head on and forcefully. The David Corn technique of hanging up on Hewitt won't cut it... as much as I like him as a journalist, that was a weak thing to do, because it ceded too much ground, and that certainly won't change anyone's mind.

  167. In the end, the specifics of what Williamson or anybody else writes or will write don't really matter. What must be understood here is that the long-range goal of conservatives is the elimination of public education.

    To the conservative mind, public education is one huge concatenation of evils: from the tax dollars being spent on the poors and the blahs to the teachers being unionized to enormously valuable assets (land, buildings) being owned by the public to the kids being indoctrinated in science, math and critical thinking, it's just one giant Satanic conspiracy.

    Thus the push for home schooling, charter schools, privatization, etc.

  168. redoubtagain10:16 AM

    "Smoke if you got 'em."

    Through an asbestos filter, no less.

  169. Not a cough in a carton!

  170. Halloween_Jack10:26 AM

    I surmise that Williamson really does believe that the law which forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges is an equitable one.

  171. Aimai, I might have some dox on the person stalking you,, e-mail me @ raybelln@netscape(dot)net if you're interested.

  172. floated down the Nile to KenyaThis ... this may be the best part. "I'm no geographer, but when 'alarmists' claim that the Nile doesn't even go through Kenya, I would point out that people in Kenya drink water, too."

  173. Arakasi_991:23 PM

    Don't forget - the ability of the rare exceptional student to overcome the system that is stacked against him or her is all the proof needed that the system is fair.

  174. Actually that is one of my favorite parts, too. And you really can't blame people for it--well, you can. Both Fringe and The Mentalist had a tendency to collapse space and time and have characters start out in Boston and End up around the corner in New York, or in New York and suddenly in Texas a few minutes later. Its like the writers just decided "oh fuck it, no one cares and no one even notices." Like the writer of blockbuster 60's novels of sex and hollywood who changed the name and haircolor of a major character halfway through and let the book be published that way. When it was brought to his attention he just shrugged and said his readers would never notice. (Harald Robbins)

  175. realinterrobang6:04 PM

    I want to spread the good word of this comment from behind the well-oiled barrel of a semiautomatic rifle.

  176. StringOnAStick11:55 AM

    I see you've met my older sister.

  177. LA Julian9:45 PM

    Technically someone could be cis (presenting as their apparent gender according to current local norms) but not straight (think non-fabulous gay guy or femme lesbian) but since they too would already be covered by the G and L it really seems redundant, unless the speaker is trying to undercut the straight conforming default by adding it to the list of options.