Thursday, October 10, 2013


You've probably seen this:
Republican approval rating falls to lowest point in Gallup poll history 
...just 28 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the GOP, according to the latest monthly Gallup tracking poll. The number "is the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992,” the polling company stated. 
The number is 10 points lower than the party scored in the same poll in September.
I'm not given to rah-rah, and I'm old enough to know how fast the wheel of fortune spins. But I hope that whenever my case is so decisively farblondzhet, I never have to go out and paint the pig with lipstick like Ole Perfesser Reynolds does here:
MAYBE THIS IS WHY OBAMA’S ACTING SO PETULANT AND UPSET: Ted Cruz poll shows GOP gained in fight over Obamacare despite shutdown. “Obama’s job approval rating was 45 percent; his disapproval was 52 percent. 67 percent said Obamacare was the ‘major reason’ for the government shutdown.” 
I wonder what Obama’s polls are saying?
So if you squint just right,  Ted Cruz's own poll says Ted Cruz's cause is gaining, against all other evidence. (It also says "by a margin of 42 percent to 36 percent, independent voters blamed Republicans for the shutdown over Obama and the Democrats," but that must be a typo.) That's unskewed, baby! Also from the Perfesser:
UPDATE: Dems Lose Lead In Generic Congressional Ballot.
Hit the link and you find Breitbart acolyte John Nolte celebrating a Rasmussen poll from last week, showing a "generic" Congressional race to be tied 40%-40%; the Democrats lost all of two points from the previous. From the very same Rasmussen page, you can click over to their other poll findings, including "70% Give Congress Poor Rating" ("it's hard to believe it could get any worse") and "Support for Government Shutdown Drops from 53% to 45%" -- and that one was published back on September 30; pretty soon the shutdown approval ratings might be down around Black Plague levels, if they aren't already. (This just in: Ted Cruz's pollster finds public starting to turn around on Plague! It's all in the wording, and this time they called it "ice cream.")

How does he get away with it? That's in the wording, too: Nolte crows that this is "another edition of the polls the media won't cover"; also, "the media want to give Obama a third-term... the media ignore inconvenient polls and try to scare the GOP... the story the media won’t tell" etc. The story may be bullshit, but it sure refutes what the Lame Stream Media are telling you, readers -- so click on through and buy some gold!

Not buying it? Wait till the next wave of WorldWarIIMemorialGate, and LincolnMemorialLawnmowerGate ("We need the names of these officers publicized," cries the Ole Perfesser), and exposure of all the other outrages perpetrated by Obama's stormtroopers, the National Park Service! Jonathan V. Last at the Weekly Standard:
The conduct of the National Park Service over the last week might be the biggest scandal of the Obama administration.
Forget Benghazi, some fascist closed the scenic overlook!
Before the current [Park Service] director, Jonathan Jarvis, was nominated by President Obama, he’d spent 30 years as a civil servant. But he has taken to his political duties with all the fervor of a third-tier hack from the DNC, marrying the disinterested contempt of a meter maid with the zeal of an ambitious party apparatchik.
It’s worth recalling that the Park Service has always been deeply ambivalent about the public which they’re charged with serving...
Last then tells us about one park director's desire to limit traffic on the Mall ("Nobody drives through Disneyland. They’re not allowed. And we’ve got the better theme park") and cries, "Yes, yes. They must protect America’s treasures from the ugly Americans." Conservation is theft! Why, soon they won't even let you piss in the reservoir.

I do think the right's alternative universe should be drive-through, though. It'll be a nice change from having to live with them.


  1. XeckyGilchrist10:11 AM

    When the national parks are privatized, no one will ever be denied access.

  2. Mark_Bzzzz10:15 AM

    What, some crazy assed person started driving a lawnmower around on public property and got kicked off by law enforcement? Fascism. Because there's no way an unauthorized crazy person driving a machine with wildly spinning blades can ever go wrong.

  3. dstatton10:22 AM

    Funny, I thought that the GOP leadership was now giving other reasons for the shutdown (the deficit! entitlement reform!), so although 67% still think it's all about the ACA, it's a "victory"? Peeking into the bubble is fascinating.

  4. coozledad10:32 AM

    It’s worth recalling that the Park Service has always been deeply ambivalent about the public which they’re charged with serving...

    Damn straight. I remember that ranger on yogi Bear always had a stick up his ass about something.

  5. Mark_Bzzzz10:33 AM

    Why, soon they won't even let you piss in the reservoir.

    Psst.... Just wear your swimming trunks and jump in. And then if the park ranger asks about the funny expression on your face, you can say you were just resting.

  6. GeniusLemur10:41 AM

    You're joking, but that's damn close to how Republicans actually argue in their usual "ruling by anecdote" mode.

  7. Ellis_Weiner10:46 AM

    "click on through and buy some gold!"

    Worst Doors song EVER.

  8. pillsy10:52 AM

    So Obama's "petulant and upset" because his approval ratings have gone *up* since the Republicans decided to stage a remake of "Dog Day Afternoon" on the House floor? Yeah, that makes sense.

  9. Mark_Bzzzz11:00 AM

    The Republicans are coming out with their own version of Breaking Bad. It's kind of a sequel and it's called Broken Badly.

  10. LookWhosInTheFreezer11:04 AM

    marrying the disinterested contempt of a meter maid with the zeal of an ambitious party apparatchik.

    Police officers cracking the heads of Dirty Fucking Occupy Protestors, are just enforcing the law because we are a nation of laws and actions-have-consequences etc., but meter maids are the Gestapo x∞ !

  11. Emily6811:07 AM

    disinterested contempt of a meter maid
    a meter maid who doesn't know who I am.

  12. Did the Ole Derpesser link to Dean Chambers yet? I need these polls unskewed, pronto!

  13. catclub11:33 AM

    At least, no one with an oil derrick.

  14. They force things to get shut down and then complain about it. Causality... how does it work?

  15. slavdude12:10 PM

    ...If they can afford the entry fee.

  16. Last then tells us about one park director's desire to limit traffic on
    the Mall ("Nobody drives through Disneyland. They’re not allowed. And
    we’ve got the better theme park") and cries, "Yes, yes. They must
    protect America’s treasures from the ugly Americans." Conservation is theft! Why, soon they won't even let you piss in the reservoir.

    Last probably drives to his own mailbox and can't comprehend that allowing cars to drive through parks is a safety issue rather than a conservation issue.

  17. gocart mozart12:16 PM

    "Break on Through to the Boehner Side" was a lot worse.

  18. gocart mozart12:19 PM

    or Breaking Wind

  19. Glock H. Palin, Esq.12:23 PM

    It’s worth recalling that the Park Service has always been deeply
    ambivalent about the public which they’re charged with serving...
    Last then tells us about one park director's desire to limit traffic on the Mall[...]and cries, "Yes, yes. They must protect America’s treasures from the ugly Americans."

    Seriously? He's framing prioritizing people actually enjoying the mall over people driving through it on the way to somewhere else as "be[ing] deeply
    ambivalent about the public"?

    That's pretty absurd.

  20. I'm kind of shocked how much "Conservation is theft!" seems to answer so many questions about the North American right's world view.

  21. also in this poll, the public is shown to be squarely behind lieutenant uhura's uniform that is also a halter top and skirt and support for sulu's dueling scar is on the rise.

  22. gorillagogo12:29 PM

    GOP has a 28% approval rating? Getting awful close to this.

    John: Hey, Bush is now at 37% approval. I feel much less like Kevin McCarthy screaming in traffic. But I wonder what his base is --

    Tyrone: 27%.

    John: ... you said that immmediately, and with some authority.

    Tyrone: Obama vs. Alan Keyes.
    Keyes was from out of state, so you can eliminate any established
    political base; both candidates were black, so you can factor out
    racism; and Keyes was plainly, obviously, completely crazy. Batshit
    crazy. Head-trauma crazy. But 27% of the population of Illinois voted
    for him. They put party identification, personal prejudice, whatever
    ahead of rational judgement. Hell, even like 5% of Democrats voted for
    him. That's crazy behaviour. I think you have to assume a 27%
    Crazification Factor in any population.

    John: Objectively crazy or crazy vis-a-vis my own inertial reference frame for rational behaviour? I mean, are you creating the Theory of Special Crazification or General Crazification?

    Tyrone: Hadn't thought about it. Let's split the difference. Half just have worldviews which lead them to disagree with what you
    consider rationality even though they arrive at their positions through
    rational means, and the other half are the core of the Crazification --
    either genuinely crazy; or so woefully misinformed about how the world
    works, the bases for their decision making is so flawed they may as well
    be crazy.

    John: You realize this leads to there being over 30 million crazy people in the US?

    Tyrone: Does that seem wrong?

    John: ... a bit low, actually.

  23. I do think the right's alternative universe should be drive-through, though Drive through zoos are so much fun. The transport though should be bullet proof to protect us against the crazies and their 2nd amendment rights. :)

  24. ChrisV8212:50 PM

    They don't even let you crack open a beer on federal property, and this was before the shut down. Spasiba, comrade Obama!

  25. Bethany Spencer12:52 PM

    Being both disinterested and contemptuous--now there's a neat trick.

  26. Al Swearengen12:52 PM

    I'd like to see the methodology of Cruz's poll.

    1. Demoncrats are evil and want to give your healthcare to the blahs. Obama is:
    a) Evil
    b) The Antichrist

    2. Ted Cruz is:
    a) Great
    b) The Greatest

    Methodology: Polling conducted of 814 members of Ted Cruz's church last Sunday morning. Margin of error +/- 100% of observable reality.

  27. Bethany Spencer12:53 PM

    Bear fucking will always get an upvote.

  28. Al Swearengen12:55 PM

    Rapebear! Born in a laboratory! Forged in pain! A thirst for blood...and rape! Rapebear!

    (Legendary among screenwriters: )

  29. zencomix1:19 PM

    Allowing meter maids to marry zeal is destroying traditional marriage.

  30. reallyaimai1:21 PM

    It seems like lowering the bar a bit to assert that X number of Americans "think the shutdown is about Obamacare" is equal to X number of Americans like the shutdown because they hate Obamacare.

  31. reallyaimai1:23 PM

    They just always feel the need to portray Obama as petulant and upset. I think it might be in the contract. Because the guy is somewhat famously unflappable and calm. I think its part of the general insistence on babyfying dems and the old "who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" And, of course, it works on their voters.

  32. reallyaimai1:25 PM

    Ok, so comparing government to "disinterested and contemptuous meter maids" and then bitching about the disinterested performance of a public function strikes me as a perfect example of my post on tipping and Republican Anger so damn it I'm linking it here.

  33. reallyaimai1:26 PM

    That's pretty absurd.

    You're new around here, aren't you?

  34. Haystack1:42 PM

    Just because I can, I'm going to steal your car, OK? First, I need you to go out and buy a car exactly the same so nobody will think I stole your car. Then I'll dictate the terms for getting your car back. What? No? I should have known you'd be intransigent.

    - Republican shutdown behavior analogy #1,596

  35. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person1:55 PM


    That anything like fishmeckled?

  36. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person2:03 PM

    1) Spend weeks telling everyone with a mic that the shutdown is about Obamacare
    2) Blame the fact that "...67 percent said Obamacare was the ‘major reason’ for the government shutdown.” on Obama.
    3) Fly to the Moon on gossamer wings, because in your reality, that's physically possible.

  37. BigHank532:07 PM

    Shit, I'd already reserved the flying chariot drawn by swans for my moon trip.

  38. Here's some rare footage of Ted Cruz consulting with his pollster Chris Perkins just yesterday:

  39. Bizarro Mike2:12 PM

    I had you figured for more of a rocket man, but I guess I was wrong.

  40. Bizarro Mike2:15 PM

    Also, being a resident of that foul city, where the hell does he think you'll park? Driving around that part of town is just asking for an accident, anyway. If you want to go to the museums, park far away and take the metro to Smithsonian or Fed Triangle.

  41. parsec2:18 PM

    "Defund Me Two Times" was my least favorite.

  42. Ellis_Weiner2:19 PM

    Nice piece, aimai. And yes, I can't believe I read THE WHOLE THING.

  43. Ellis_Weiner2:26 PM

    I bet the wingers' capacity to believe the opposite of what is right in front of them, and of what they've been told for weeks if not years, begins in religion and "faith." If it's not only possible, but virtuous and praiseworthy, to believe in the invisible and the unproven as regards God, why NOT embrace the ability to believe in anything else you prefer, despite evidence to the contrary?

    But scratch "prefer." Rather, need. Fox Muldur says, "I want to believe." Wingnuts say, "I need to believe [for reasons of which I am utterly oblivious], and so I do!"

  44. J Neo Marvin3:03 PM

    Where the vegetables are green,
    And you can pee right into the stream! (And that's important)
    We're back from the shadows again!

  45. J Neo Marvin3:05 PM

    The teabaggers in the forest brightly feathered, they are saying, "Out here we is stupid, immaculate!"

  46. J Neo Marvin3:11 PM

    Did Scooter Libby write that script?

  47. glennisw3:14 PM

    How does the Ole Professor assess Obama's behavior as "petulant and upset"? Is it the same way he determines this: "It’s worth recalling that the Park Service has always been deeply ambivalent about the public which they’re charged with serving..."
    Just curious.

  48. glennisw3:16 PM

    It's also funny how a law perfessor doesn't understand that, nice as that man is for cutting the grass, he and his equipment pose a liability to the property-owner, the federal government, if something occurs that injures someone. Perhaps they don't have personal injury lawsuits in Tennessee?

  49. glennisw3:19 PM

    Well, of course, because meter maids should be able to pick and choose which drivers they cite for parking violations. Shouldn't they? I know who I'd pick...

  50. glennisw3:20 PM

    You'd think a law perfessor would have an inkling of the concept of liability.

  51. Gromet3:35 PM

    So a guy brings a chainsaw to the Mall to cut up fallen trees and is surprised when they ask him to leave?

    Up next: "So I drove my pickup full of implements to the Mall. I thought it could use a dramatic landscaping makeover, and the Feds obviously weren't giving it one, so in my mind, I figured I had the right. I rented a bulldozer, and we got to work..."

  52. Waingro3:39 PM

    Jonah Goldberg's organ solo on "Light My Fart" was fairly pedestrian, in my opinion.

  53. Gromet3:40 PM

    Mass transit? Where IS this capital, Soviet Russia?

  54. Jimcima3:46 PM

    And I'm left asking, recalling from when? From what?

    My entire history of interactions with Park Service employees has been essentially financial ("$10 for your campsite please") or informational ("careful, that's poison oak over there") and that's pretty much about it.

    Now there may be some small subset of people who have traded financial rewards for the personal satisfaction of a job working in a national park and who are also subversive public haters or just plain dickheads, but I tend to think these feelings are uncommon - unlike, say, the attitude of most of the people who work for the Weekly Standard.

  55. MikeJ3:46 PM

    I think it's gonna be a long long time.

  56. LookWhosInTheFreezer3:48 PM

    The 'Nutters just want them make that choice based on the car's value and color (of the owner.)

  57. satch3:56 PM

    It was a great post, and Varney himself boiled it down nicely:

    "VARNEY: I take your point Amy, it is not directly their fault, but I'm looking at the big picture here. I'm getting screwed."

    Yep, Stuart, THAT'S the big picture, all righty.

  58. LookWhosInTheFreezer3:58 PM

    I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that these people have never actually interacted with Park Services.

  59. montag24:00 PM

    "It's also funny how a law perfessor doesn't understand...."

    Hmm, I think we're zeroing in on the reasons why The Ol' Perfesser is not in private practice....

  60. satch4:00 PM

    We should reward expressions of personal responsibility wherever they rear their addled heads. This guy PAID for... umm... some of that grass, and he was by God gonna MOW it!!!

  61. satch4:19 PM

    "Wait a minute!"


    You didn't see Nate Silver out there, did ya?"

    " Nate Silver? No."

    "Oh good... for a moment there, I thought we were in trouble."

  62. Budbear4:20 PM

    "And that's why we need tort reform too!!!111!!"

  63. dstatton4:43 PM

    Jonah Goldberg once wrote that Obama "desperately" wants to appear cool.

  64. LookWhosInTheFreezer4:43 PM

    They love contradictions. Obama is: a femme weakling/most powerful ChicagoThugDictator ever, teleprompter-reliant moron/evil genius, antibusiness hippy/Wall Street fellator, lazy vacation-lover who also works 24/7 to destroy Democracy etc.

  65. Halloween_Jack4:44 PM

    Not like the old days, when they looked much older, and the bag across her shoulder made her look a little like a military man.

  66. dstatton4:46 PM

    When I read something as incoherent as this: "the Park Service has always been deeply ambivalent", I can read no further.

  67. Halloween_Jack4:46 PM

    You know how sometimes, when an oversized dog licks its chops, you can hear it all the way across the room? That's the sound I imagine Dean "Unskewed" Chambers making right now.

  68. Mooser4:54 PM

    Brush up your Yiddish!

    Start learning it now.

    Brush up your Yiddish, And they will all plotz

  69. Mooser4:57 PM

    "3) Fly to the Moon on gossamer wings, because in your reality, that's physically possible."

    Hey, it's great fun, but it's just one of those things.

  70. montag24:57 PM

    It's a curse, I know, but I take the very long view in these matters, and what I see in this is the triumph of propaganda and public relations. (And, yes, I could go Hulk! Smash! on Eddie Bernays, but, hell, if he hadn't codified the science of spreading bullshit into a discipline, someone else would have.)

    It's taken a hundred years, but, finally, fact--even scientific polling, that adjunct of public relations--is completely, utterly and forever irrelevant. Some Wall Street flack did some focus groups on the matter currently before us, with these results, from Business Insider:

    We talked to Tea Party stalwarts last night, and tried to make our best arguments. "Don't you realize the Republicans could lose the House in 2014?" We don't care, they said. "Don't you worry about a catastrophic reaction in the financial markets?" We don't care, they said. "Don't you worry that the Democrats will aggressively play the Social Security card with seniors?" We don't care, they said.

    "This is the Alamo, it's Braveheart, battles to the death. These people are on a Mission from God," Valliere says.

    Wending one's way through the accumulated bullshit, the conclusion to be drawn is that Charlie Koch is God, because, ultimately, this is his party and his mission--he paid for it, right down to the napkins and the party favors and the marching orders.

    All this, mind you, is ostensibly about expanded health insurance availability, but, I think, is much more about the way propaganda can unleash 27% of the American Id. To the casual observer, this intransigence seems irreconcilably stupid, politically, socially and economically. But, thinking of it in propaganda terms, it's an unqualified success. For many months, the judicious application of large amounts of money devoted to stimulating and nurturing the irrational in the susceptible has resulted in the desired effect: creating a disorder which can then be exploited for entirely personal gain by the propagandist.

    There's little point in trying to divine what's in the mind of the susceptible--it's a stew of resentments, fears and misinformed opinion which has been put on the heat to boil. Understanding the methods used to create that stew and get it hot is more important. The Ol' Perfesser is just doing an old, old routine--seeking to turn bad news into good--and doing his part as a useful idiot.

  71. Mooser5:03 PM

    What are they complaining about? Do they want the Park Service to start allowing homeless people to stay at the parks? And by making the Parks unfriendly places where you could keel over from a stroke and the Ranger does nothing, they are helping to make government smaller.

  72. redoubt5:05 PM

    Distillation of 21st-century Republican thinking: Jonah Le Petomane thinks someone else is uncool.

  73. Derelict5:32 PM

    Sure they have! For example, that time he took his family to Six Flags and the pimply-faced kid running the Teacups ride took his tickets and didn't even smile! That's pretty poor park service, right? Right?

  74. XeckyGilchrist5:32 PM

    Well done! I recently read that series about the no-tip restaurant and it's a fascinating little accidental social study, isn't it?

    And you're dead on about Republicans being Punishers. That whole dynamic took a very ugly turn since the Tea Party ascendancy; I thought of it as a shift to assuming that any government job = the same as being on welfare and should be stigmatized just the same by assholes who hate recipients of government assistance.

  75. reallyaimai5:48 PM

    Jaw has dropped to lowest floor, entering sub-sub-basement levels now. Shows no sign of stopping. Emergency. Emergency. Jaw heading to China.

  76. Chocolate Covered Cotton5:48 PM

    Who knew "LA Woman" was actually about Louisiana?

  77. reallyaimai5:50 PM

    I can't believe it either! And I'm very grateful. Because dammit, no one can get by on a steady diet of Proust.

  78. reallyaimai5:51 PM

    That Varney quote was a goldmine of sociopathery. What I first thought when I read it was "Oh, so that's what a Spite Voter looks like when they aren't voting," They apparently are just sitting around marinating in spite.

  79. reallyaimai5:52 PM

    Yes, I thought it was an incredibly good and well thought through piece of natural sociology or anthropology. The guy is a great writer, too.

  80. Chocolate Covered Cotton5:52 PM

    Ghosts crowd a teabagger's fragile eggshell mind.

  81. reallyaimai5:56 PM

    Fuck, in Tennesee the ordinary citizens will shoot you for looking sideways at their grass.

    All joking aside this is yet another example of how, at base Republican thinking is unempathetic and incurious. You see the same logic when white guys who have open carry liscences get angry that the populace doesn't just intuit or know that they are "the good guys." We have general laws that apply to everyone in a certain class because we don't know just by looking at people whether they are naughty or nice.

  82. May I inquire, discreetly?

  83. reallyaimai6:34 PM

    Hear! Hear! I mean: hand me my suicide pills because this is not going to go well for the sane people.

  84. ...for anyone not 13-17, a neat trick. I know; I'm "living" with two in that range right now.

  85. glennisw6:56 PM

    And you know, that would be cool with me if they want it that way, because most of the meter maids - sorry, Parking Enforcement Officers - I know are women of color.

  86. coozledad7:02 PM

    Investors scattered on gold’s
    high yields leading

    Bonds crowd the
    market’s fragile derivative indices.

  87. Atticus Dogsbody7:21 PM

    He does. His readers don't.

  88. Jay B.7:48 PM

    Great post. I was thinking something similar today, at least in the sense of self-introspection: Am I wrong? Are my beliefs just a mirror image of theirs? Am I the one completely and utterly delusional about what I think is obvious? It's crazy making. I'm honestly questioning objective reality - like is this really happening? Is the Government shut down over a law that passed three fucking years ago? Are they really refusing to pass a debt ceiling hike because they don't believe there will be consequences? Are they really confused about the idea that Obamacare is really a sop to the fucking insurance industry and not remotely a socialist plot?

    I guess I hold out that, somehow, I'll be proven wrong -- even though everything, including my normal grasp on regular ol' reality, has proven me (and all of us) right again and again.

  89. Ellis_Weiner8:10 PM

    Not only do I want to buy this comment whatever it's having, I might copy and paste it into Facebook. The combo of ignorance, self-righteousness, and unself-awareness are three walls I bang my head against every day. "These people are so stupid! Can't they see a lie when it's this obvious?! What a nation of suckers and chumps!" Etc.

    Eventually it has to dawn on me that I'M the schmuck--not because I think I'm reaching those people (they don't read alicublog, my FB page, or anything else I write,) but because it still *gets* to me. If the alternative is depression and cynicism, then okay, let it continue. But it's my personal mishegas to think I can argue a crazy person into sanity. It didn't work with my mother, and it won't work with the Tea Party.

  90. Atticus Dogsbody8:16 PM

    Madeleines for breakfast, lunch and tea.

  91. ADHDJ8:21 PM

    How does the Ole Professor assess Obama's behavior as "petulant and upset"?

    Well, there *was* that press conference where he showed up in ratty jeans and a Get Up Kids t-shirt, then stormed off after 10 minutes screaming about how he didn't ask to be born.

  92. JennOfArk8:21 PM

    ...just 28 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the GOP, according to the latest monthly Gallup tracking poll.
    There's that number again.

  93. JennOfArk8:22 PM

    They must've missed that episode of Mad Men where the secretary was driving the riding mower around the office during an office party.

  94. JennOfArk8:24 PM

    I'm thinking more of "When You're Deranged."

  95. JennOfArk8:25 PM

    To be fair, if you'd ever seen his organ, you'd know how little he has to work with.
    I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  96. TGuerrant8:28 PM

    True, NSA's lack of ambivalence is the norm.

  97. JennOfArk8:31 PM

    "There's a moron in the House; he's orange and stinking like a souse."

  98. Atticus Dogsbody8:32 PM

    It's a chariot pulled by two goats for me.

  99. JennOfArk8:37 PM

    Someone give that bear a dildo!
    Sorry, I just noticed that this was a dildoless thread.

  100. TGuerrant8:52 PM

    Thank God - it's Dildo Time!

  101. KatWillow9:01 PM

    Persons such as the Kocks and other billionaire hedge funders have acquired a lot of political power via the "Tea Party".

    They use this (considerable) power to obstruct, hinder, and dismantle. They appear to have no constructive ideas or intent at all, only destructive.

    The "Shutdown" s a excellent example of their notions of Ruling rather than Governing.

  102. satch9:04 PM

    Braveheart, huh? I think of this more as Blazing Saddles, where Cleavon Little grabs himself around the neck and points a gun at his own head and says "Next man makes a move, the ni**er gets it". Only in the Teapugs case, they're NOT bluffing...

  103. TGuerrant9:13 PM

    A lot of clarifying "That's it!" moments in that post, Aimai.

  104. Tracy9:25 PM

    At first glance, I read this as "oil dick." Dr. Freud is calling me.

  105. Tracy9:29 PM

    Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr!

  106. Atticus Dogsbody9:49 PM

    Actually,it's Nigel and Eustace. Distant cousins from Britain.

  107. BigHank539:50 PM

    You're not trying to eat the hardcovers, I hope. Seriously, stick to the paperbound editions--twenty or thirty minutes of simmering works wonders.

  108. Smut Clyde10:06 PM

    the disinterested contempt of a meter maid

    Is anyone else picking up a sense of seething and festering post-rejection frustration? As if some meter maid once brutally squashed the young Perferssor's awkward perfessions of love?

    This is what happens when you build your teenage fantasies around Beatles lyrics.

  109. Smut Clyde10:08 PM

    That explains Coozledad's earlier reference to "that ranger on Yogi Bear [who] always had a stick up his as".

  110. Smut Clyde10:11 PM

    In my day we had to make do with bottles of dew. KIDS TODAY.

  111. So Obama's "petulant and upset" because his approval ratings have gone *up*

    Well, duh. If he's rewarded for appearing to stand firm, and the other side eventually backs down, how will he ever be "forced" into gutting Social Security? If I were he, I'd be furious.

  112. Smut Clyde10:16 PM

    Trickle-down economics would ensure that all boats were lifted, and yet, economic inequality and wage stagnation are now the norm and upward mobility has gone into reverse.

    Yet for those people who voted for Reagan, all these ways in which their lives have subsequently gone downhill merely leave them more nostalgic for Reagan.

    You'd expect people to realise that if Reagan had been right about *anything*, then things should have *improved* since his presidency, and it would not be the Golden Age to long for. But no.

  113. the public is shown to be squarely behind lieutenant uhura's uniform that is also a halter top and skirt

    Not to detract from your overall point, but this one would probably be true. Now back to your agony booths, everyone.

  114. then stormed off after 10 minutes screaming about how he didn't ask to be born

    ... in Kenya.

  115. bekabot11:03 PM

    "Damn straight. I remember that ranger on Yogi Bear always had a stick up his ass about something."

    Yogi = Andrew Breitbart
    BooBoo = James O'Keefe

    Yogi = Vice President Cheney
    BooBoo = Scooter Libby

    Yogi = Lucianne Goldberg
    BooBoo = Jonah

    Yogi = Karl Rove
    BooBoo = Tim Griffin

    Yogi = Mark Levin
    BooBoo = Sean Hannity

    {add to list at will}

    No wonder the ranger always had a stick up his ass. Bears multiply like crazy.

  116. reallyaimai11:57 PM

    No doubt meter-maid-love-object would be one of those jobs the Perfesser would like replaced with a robot. This might be the lost second ending to Door Into Summer.

  117. AGoodQuestion12:05 AM

    Well I guess it's better than no lube at all...

  118. AGoodQuestion12:15 AM

    That anything like Hammer Time?

  119. AGoodQuestion12:17 AM

    The list of ilks and types with which they have never interacted would have the heft of a David Foster Wallace novel.

  120. DocAmazing1:03 AM

    keeping you safe from fucking bears
    Well, with the ursine community off-limits, it explains why they keep fucking that chicken.

  121. DocAmazing1:09 AM

    Oh, forget the madeleines!

  122. robotslave2:13 AM

    As one of the five or six Americans who knows how the book ends, I'm not entirely sure I approve of the title of this post.

    last page of the book marks the abrupt turn from castigation of Waugh's
    class and its work to that melancholy idolatry of the British ruling
    class that PBS will never, ever get enough of.

    The Loved
    and Pinfold are returns to his earlier
    form, but the former castigates Americans, not his fellow toffs, and
    the latter oh my fucking god are you kidding me. Um, I mean, is
    essentially a memoir.

    I haven't read Helena,
    but it sounds dire and I assume it was out of print lo these many years
    for good reason.

  123. BadExampleMan2:30 AM

    No, and you know how you can tell the difference? Gay marriage, that's how!

  124. Exactly. They are asserting that "X number of Americans" are taking them at their word that the Republicans shut down the government because of "Obamacare," but that does not equate to X number of Americans agreeing that this is a good thing.

    I'm sure a sizable number of Americans think that the terrorists of 911 flew planes into NYC because, as they declared, they hated western cultural hegemony, but you won't find many Americans who are glad it happened.

    The rightwing do this all the time. They are incapable of thinking outside their tight, little craniums, and so they make half-assed arguments that ridiculously assume the recipient already believes/understands their position.

    They cannot comprehend or tolerate any other worldview, leaving them rather handicapped in the logical debate arena.

    (...kind of how religioso types define atheism as "pretending to not believe in God because you are 'prideful' and/or angry at Him." They cannot conceive of not believing in the bearded old sod, so they have to believe atheists are just being petulant. So, too, wingnuts cannot comprehend not believing that Obama is the Divil)

  125. reallyaimai7:45 AM

    I don't think they love the contradictions. I think they are just very, very, very, confused about agency and causality and, you know, stuff. They don't connect--and yes, Howard's End is one of my favorite books--neither the past to the present (like what they said yesterday) nor the act to its results (like what is the harm of shutting down the government and refusing to pay our bills?) or their actions to the actions of their future enemies (what do you mean this is a tactic that will be used against us later?) nor person to person (thanks to god's grace I can never be in the position of that other person.) There's nothing connecting their two visions of Obama because they don't require there to be a connection. They are unaware of the contradiction.

    I was trying to describe this to someone IRL the other day and the best I could come up with is that they don't think linearly or causally at all but rather with a kind of word cloud of possibilities that are always moving around, getting bigger and smaller, and potentiating each other by proximity. So its more true that Obama is an evil person because he has done something strong and something that appears weak at the same time. Two events that happen close together must be related by an overarching theory not of mind but of nature/will (good or evil) while events that happen far apart can be isolated and seen as separate--even if the same person is doing them or if the causes and connecting institutions are obvious.

  126. reallyaimai7:50 AM

    But the Reagan Revolution was betrayed and stabbed in the back by Rinos, Winos and Dinos. The Myth of a Golden Age is always accompanied by the myth of the struggle of the fallen angels and sinners to return to paradise or, in the case of Fringe, to destroy the world. Maybe we can help the Reaganauts sublimate by giving them a TV show focused on the struggle of a noble band of low tax'nspenders to seize control of New York City (say) and bring it back to to its glory days. It would be like Northern Exposure but instead of a smart liberal doctor you'd have an aw shucks farmer-doctor in single practice who fixes everyone's plumbing and sewer connections and then lectures them about the evils of dependency. Of course he can't get anything else done since he's alla time running up and down the stairwells of hi rises. But imagine the possibilities? (H/t McCloud and the Beverley Hillbillies).

  127. In terms of projection, that has to be a 500-seat IMAX, especially coming from "This is central to my point/I'm on a deadline/Pop culture babble/be my unpaid research assistant" Pasty Doughboy.

  128. XeckyGilchrist10:00 AM

    Squarely behind is right, though the view from the front isn't bad either.

  129. XeckyGilchrist10:04 AM

    rather with a kind of word cloud of possibilities that are always moving around, getting bigger and smaller, and potentiating each other by proximity.

    !!! Excellent.

    Just needed to say that.

  130. XeckyGilchrist10:06 AM

    Yogi = Sen. Cruz
    BooBoo = Sen. Lee

  131. tigrismus10:25 AM

    "The Laffer formulation that reducing taxation on corporations and the
    wealthy would increase government revenues has been rendered a sick joke
    by thirty years of annual deficits" makes me wonder if they know they're talking bullshit. I mean, if they wanted to "starve the beast" and really believed in the Laffer Curve, wouldn't they counsel raising taxes until revenue dried up?

  132. reallyaimai10:39 AM

    I would like to offer this comment an air sickness bag and some eau de toilette on a lace hanky.

  133. People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect. But
    actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a
    big ball of wibbly-wobbly ... timey-wimey... stuff.

  134. reallyaimai10:42 AM

    I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  135. I suspect that giving Ted Cruz's fellow congregants a 100% margin of error is being far too kind.

  136. Those aren't chops.

  137. The Koch is a liar.

  138. tigrismus11:00 AM

    Hit the link and
    you find Breitbart acolyte John Nolte celebrating a Rasmussen poll from
    last week, showing a "generic" Congressional race to be tied 40%-40%;
    the Democrats lost all of two points from the previous.

    So with a 2% point swing in a poll with a 2% margin of error, both are back to where they were 3 weeks ago. Celebrate!

  139. Howlin Wolfe1:25 PM

    I think we're all Bozos on this bus!

  140. Howlin Wolfe1:30 PM

    It's like calling Prof. Krugman "shrill". He doesn't sugar coat his opinion, but where do they get the appellation, "shrill", except from the skree in their own minds when Krugman's opinion skewers their pet conventional wisdom.

  141. Halloween_Jack1:39 PM

    That was one Heinlein book that I never read, and holy jeez is this bit skeevy:

    The early Heinlein biographer and critic Alexei Panshin, in his 1968 biography Heinlein in Dimension, took note of a controversial theme: "The romantic situation in this story is a very interesting, very odd one: it is nothing less than a mutual sexual interest between an engineer of thirty and a girl of twelve ('adorable' is Heinlein's word for her), that culminates in marriage after some hop-scotching around in time to adjust their ages a bit."[3] The novel "worried and bothered" John W. Campbell, who said "Bob can write a better story, with one hand tied behind him, than most people in the field can do with both hands. But Jesus, I wish that son of a gun would take that other hand out of his pocket."[4]

  142. Halloween_Jack2:00 PM

    I think that they absolutely know that they're talking bullshit, but they believe that by the time the wheels fall off the wagon they'll be no-longer-temporarily-embarrassed millionaires, and they'll be able to afford an extra Maserati and fuck the poors. No glibertarian ever regarded Harold Hill or the monorail salesman with anything but the greenest envy, not realizing that they were the mark.

  143. Halloween_Jack2:02 PM

    Yeah, some things you don't look at too closely, unless you're of a very particular persuasion.

  144. Gromet2:44 PM

    mechanisms by which they ply their trade (and their goals in doing
    so) are and should be a subject of much greater inquiry. It may even
    need to be seen as a survival skill.

    I have been saying for years (as I am a crackpot) that we should teach Media in high school. I mean we want kids to be effective communicators and citizens, so we learn 'em how to assess the five kinds of irony in Great Expectations -- but we don't teach them how to assess bias on the news? That's deeply weird.

  145. Gromet2:58 PM

    Yes to all the betrayal! The wingers I know would counter Wholesale deregulation would lead to a more self-disciplined marketplace by saying But we didn't try it wholesale -- we did it partway, and that's why we experienced partial collapse. It never occurs to them that a wholesale program would have caused wholesale collapse. No, they say Of course the ice cracks when you inch out onto it in snowshoes -- what you gotta do is just let the snowmobile roar and jet you right across! Call it "Hold my beer and watch this" economics. Followed by accusations of "Well of course I almost drowned -- you didn't help me make the ramp bigger."

  146. Smut Clyde4:07 PM

    Perhaps you can shame tigrismus into blogging more often at Riddled.

  147. LookWhosInTheFreezer4:09 PM

    because most of the meter maids - sorry, Parking Enforcement Officers - I know are women of color

    Something tells me the wingnuts have noticed these attributes, as well.

  148. Smut Clyde4:21 PM

    Teenaged Smut wondered about the paedophilia aspect, but forgave Heinlein because of the goodthink he displayed on the subject of cats.

  149. Abe Rey4:41 PM

    When the national parks are privatized, no one will ever be denied access.

  150. Smut Clyde5:17 PM

    some crazy assed person started driving a lawnmower around on public property and got kicked off by law enforcement?

    Life imitates Larry Niven stories.

  151. Tehanu10:24 PM

    Bear Whiz Beer! It's in the water -- that's why it's yellow!

  152. montag212:55 AM

    An interesting observation, that. And it reinforces what I was saying about the ascendency of the irrational. We all have been forced into thinking in compartmentalized fashion--and one of those prominent compartments is Presidential terms, because it's a handy, if deeply flawed, means of comparison.

    If one, instead, thinks of the Reagan years as a time when certain policy regimens were set in motion that had lasting effects, almost all of them, coincidentally, deleterious to civil society here, the bloom does fade from the Reagan rose.

    I think it was after his 1956 defeat that Adlai Stevenson observed that television would utterly transform politics in the U.S. Apart from the fact that Stevenson was even then underestimating its impact, he had no inkling of the coming of the most superficial aspects of Hollywood to the Presidency with Reagan's election, nor the ways in which everything would be stage-managed and orchestrated from then on. For many of those who remain nostalgic for the Reagan years, it's that `30s Hollywood musical atmosphere they remember--the bright, chirpy slogans, the eternally optimistic and smiling leading man beside his eternally optimistic and smiling leading lady, and even the dyed-black hair and Raggedy Andy make-up on Reagan reminded them that this was Hollywood, the place where make-believe is made real. Powerful stuff for the easily influenced.

  153. Sooo.... Teenaged Smut liked teenaged smut?

  154. People always have a hard time grasping the existence of intellectual functions that they themselves don't use much. They think good manners means "acting high class" rather than carrying other people in your heart so you remember to consider their needs and desires along with your own.

    That is, it's a performance for effect, is their way of looking at it. Reasoning, the expectation of self-cosistency, the expectation that error will be abandoned, the idea that you are better off knowing you don't know than persisting in

  155. Well, one of the benefits of Great expectations, or Anna Karenina, or The Dunciad, or the Essay on Criticism, or the Oresteia, is that these works prove the existence of intellectual activity that is not solely dedicated to selling shit to people. There have been communications courses in universities for decades, in which, presumably, media criticism is taught. What they seem to produce is armies of people who go into the propaganda industries--marketing etc. criticism of marketing and propaganda just produces more skilled or slick marketers and propagandists and there is always a market for those.

  156. All that is true--just as the popular notion of "theory" has come to be synonymous with "my opinion," the logical argument has become a thing of the past. I used to mock it, but I'm beginning to miss the times when debate was actually taught in most public school programs.

    I would add, that I think a serious problem with these sorts of people being in positions of influence is that they conflate "understanding" with "agreement," and it goes both ways. That is, they refuse to understand (or admit they understand) anything they don't like because in their world that is defeat--you might as well admit the other guy is right, if you understand his motives.

    On the other hand, that is also why they are so desperate to be understood and fixate on popularity, because that means they must be Right.

    It is such a strange thing to see emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence become further and further removed from biological age in this country. I'd been taught the two weren't necessarily one and the same, but it is surprising to see it exposed so widely outside of a laboratory setting.

  157. Gromet10:56 AM

    Good point, unfortunately. And to clarify, I wasn't suggesting we stop teaching Lit; I have a commercially useless degree in English myself, so I'm all for it.

  158. reallyaimai1:05 PM

    Critical reading is critical reading is critical reading on some level.

  159. reallyaimai1:06 PM

    Yes, he seemed equally concerned about his cat and I loved my cat at the time--whose name, oddly enough, was Herpes. Which just goes to show that people are weird all over.

  160. Equally true is that shit is shit is shit. And no amount of critical reading will make shit into not-shit. Applying to not-shit the critical reading methods for analyzing shit produces mostly shit. The critical reading skills for really getting not-shit, when applied to shit , will also produce, well, mostly shit. Any critical method or approach that can't meaningfully distinguish between Eugene Onegin and Star Trek may be be regarded as something less than indispensable. In the criticism of not- shit, method only gets you so far, and beyond that point is where all the interesting things are happening.

  161. reallyaimai5:06 PM

    I'm not sure taht I agree. But thats because I don't think that critical reading can be limited to a hermeneutical standpoint--that is, I don't think the only kind of critical reading to be taught, or to be learned, is focused on the interior of the work. There is critical reading that takes place across genres and across historical periods, that is intertextual and references things outside the work. And it is that kind of critical reading that is necessary to combat propaganda and lazy acceptance of the obvious meanings of words/texts/political acts. You can't critique Sleeping Beauty from inside the text, but you can learn a lot from it as a genre work in fairy tales or in romances, when you read up, down, and across.

  162. Smut Clyde5:19 PM

    You'd also expect a law perfessor not to confuse 'disinterested' with 'uninterested'.

  163. merl15:22 PM

    Do they know that Obama will never run for anything again? I imagine that he doesn't give a rat's ass how low his numbers go, it won't affect his pension.

  164. But thats because I don't think that critical reading can be limited to a hermeneutical standpoint


  165. M. Krebs11:33 AM

    That's no shit.

  166. LittlePig11:37 AM

    Oh for God's sake, shut up! They'll start on the organlegger stuff next (and since in A Gift From Earth it starts with the prison population of my home state, it makes me nervous).

  167. XeckyGilchrist5:31 PM

    Was Niven always a wingnut, or did he just go insane in his later years like so many others?

  168. montag26:48 PM

    I suppose the traditional expectation has been that critical reading and interpretation become skills that translate to other aspects of life. The problem, of course, is that no small number of students simply are not motivated to dig out the subtleties of Great Expectations, and therefore miss out on what it means to really think about what one is reading (or hearing, or seeing).

    That said, the problem with teaching media in public schools is that the heart of any such program would necessarily be the cultivation of skeptical inquiry, and that's ultimately damaging to the status quo. I suspect that most public school teachers assigned such a course would come to think of it as career assassination, because teaching people how to identify meaningless bullshit as meaningless bullshit, and challenging perceptions is precisely the sort of thing that gets the purveyors of meaningless bullshit riled up. At least tenure at the college level provides some marginal protection from attack (less so today than in the past, but, still...), which may be part of the reason why media courses exist now at the college level and not in the public schools.

    Still, I agree with you in principle. Had everyone been required to read and analyze, say, Rick MacArthur's Second Front, would there have been any support for a second Gulf War? Would the public have been more or less likely to recognize the propaganda techniques employed? I think they would have had a better chance to see a con job coming, at the very least.

  169. reallyaimai9:37 PM

    "Argument is what you do with telemarketers and if you concede a logcal point or admit an error you end up owning a timeshare." Perfect.