“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”—Opening sentence, One Hundred Years of Solitude. Gabriel Garcia Marquez
—It cannot be the case that my new university president has started a Tardis-like remodel of the top floor of the main administration building (where I had an office for 5 years) such that it now has hundreds of rooms with space for thousands of people, all of whom Mrs. Prof and I had to fight to get through in order to find the entirely hidden president’s office. Right? Especially while pushing strollers with Baby Prof, LittleBoyProf and a grocery cart full of groceries?
—it cannot be the case that the president’s office is now larger than the entire old main administration floor, with an anteroom filled with movie theater seats and a bunch of, for want of a better word, hobos sitting in them. Right? And that it is hidden behind a secret door that leads to an outer office that is itself larger than the old main floor of the administration building?
—it cannot be the case that after hours of searching through all this I was finally admitted to the president’s office only to discover that he was attempting to resolve a standoff in which a Chinese fishing trawler had captured a US submarine (by sitting on it) as Russian submarines arrived to try to take possession of the US submarine and American aircraft threatened from above. Right? Bringing the world to the edge of war? That my university president has to stop?
1. I chaired the search committee that led to the hiring of my new university president when he was hired to be VP for Student Affairs. He seemed like a decent guy. But probably not a Time Lord.
2. Last night Politicalprof did not sleep particularly well.
“More than anything else, what unites the Russian leadership with the European far Right is a certain basic dishonesty, a lie so fundamental and self-delusive that it has the potential to destroy an entire peaceful order. Even as Russian leaders pour scorn on a Europe they present as a gay fleshpot, Russia’s elite is dependent upon the European Union at every conceivable level. Without European predictability, law and culture, Russians would have nowhere to launder their money, establish their front companies, send their children to school, or spend their vacations. Europe is both the basis of the Russian system and its safety valve.”—Timothy Snyder
When an ideologically racist/anti-Semitic white guy commits gun violence against a group/organization advocating for the groups he hates, that’s not terrorism. It’s an unfortunate side effect of a gun-laden society. If, by contrast, the suspect is brown or dark-skinned, it’s terrorism
At least, that’s what seems to be the case as I see the “news” about the Kansas shootings …
So, while bored silly with a napping baby lying on me today ...
I watched the truly abysmal Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson film, “The Internship.” Twaddle from start to finish.
But for one redeeming moment when, in the inevitable “keep your head up/be optimistic/we can do this” speech that is required in all such movies, the following exchange occurred (approximately):
"You’re tough! Remember, you’re from the 70s. You remember when none of us had computers. You rode in cars without seatbelts! How did you get seatbelted in your car? (Vaughn stretches his right arm straight out to the side in the "mom" pose.) That’s right! We rode our bikes all day … without helmets! You can do this."
I have to admit, that one got me. My mother reached out to brace me into the car she was driving … like 10 years ago. When I pointed out that I was wearing a seatbelt, she responded, “I’m still your mother!”
Plus, we had to remember phone numbers. And dial them one digit at a time while waiting for the dial to spin back. IT TOOK SEVEN OR MORE SECONDS TO DIAL THE PHONE!
“CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values [and] conservatives. Now, it’s just wide out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny and a redefinition of what is comedy.”—
Rush Limbaugh, not loving the pick of Stephen Colbert as host to replace David Letterman.
As Andrew Sullivan points out, Colbert is both a practicing Catholic and a Sunday school teacher. Something tells me David Letterman … wasn’t. (Neither is Politicalprof, but no one is asking me to host a late night comedy show.)
Think you can grow up to be president? Like they taught you in school?
Well, folks, the meritocracy that is supposed to make it possible for people to rise to any post in the land is a bit skewed these days, in politics as well as economics. One piece of evidence? The educational backgrounds of US Presidents. (For context, there are over 3000 higher education institutions in the US):
8 Harvard grads: Obama (law), W Bush (MBA), Kennedy, both Roosevelts, Hayes (law); both Adams’.
5 Yale grads: W Bush, Clinton (law) HW Bush, Ford (law), Taft
3 William and Mary grads: Jefferson, Monroe, Tyler
3 Columbia grads: Obama, both Roosevelts (law)
2 US Military Academy grads: Grant, Eisenhower
2 Princeton grads: Wilson, Madison
That’s 23 of 44, folks. Harvard and Yale have over 25% (without double counting W Bush.)
“So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves. In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln, the very first Republican, who took this on as a cause and a lot of it was based on a love in his heart that comes from God.”—
Jim DeMint, head of the Heritage Foundation, helpfully proving that he does not understand how slavery ended in the United States. Lincoln’s love, while real, needed millions of troops and workers to enforce, for example.
“The war began in my front yard and ended in my parlor.”—
Wilmer McLean, whose farmland was part of the first major battle of the Civil War, Bull Run, after which he moved his family to a farm in Appomattox, Virginia — where Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to US Grant on April 9, 1865.
What are your thoughts on limited liability corporations? From my basic understanding, there are no ethical or moral reasons not to repeal limited liability, only utilitarian reasons. Would love to hear your thoughts!
This is now the most amount of time that I have ever spent thinking about limited liability corporations.
As best I can figure out, there are three tax rates in Westeros:
1. If you like the King, you pay tribute as required.
2. If you do not like the King, you refuse to pay tribute and go to war. If you win, your tax is 0.
3. If you go to war and lose, the tax is death. Literally.
When you were 18 years old in 1982 what did you imagine the world would be like in 2014? Happy bday btw
Oh, if I thought about it I’m pretty sure no one would want to hear my opinion: in 1982, I was quite certain I’d never need or have any use for a personal computer, for example. Quite certain. So I’d say I’m not the world’s best prognosticator….
“Like anybody, I would like to live - a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”—Martin Luther King, Jr., “I Have Been to the Mountaintop,” April 3, 1968 — hours before his assassination on April 4, 1968
Lost among the complaining about McCutcheon and Citizens United has been any recognition that both those decisions were quite in the spirit of a far more important decision, one that despite its importance is essentially unknown: Buckley v Valeo (1976). This case challenged the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act and, among its other findings, held that money is speech and limiting money is tantamount to limiting speech, something the first amendment forbids.
As it happens, I think Buckley was a horrible decision. Money is not speech. It’s an amplifier. And while one is entitled to own an amplifier, one is not entitled to turn it at my bedroom at 3 am (or 3 pm, for that matter) and turn the volume dial up to “11.” Amplification can be regulated even if amplifiers are legal.
But whether or not Buckley was wrong (which it was), it is the law of the land. Citizens United and McCutcheon are perfectly reasonable extensions of the logic of Buckley — a decision made well before the Koch Brothers invented the tea party or Antonin Scalia bloviated his absurd arguments from the Supreme Court bench.
Sometimes context matters. This is one of those times. If you want to dump Citizens United or McCutcheon, you need to overturn Buckley v Valeo.
“We grew up in communities — New York, Baltimore, Chicago — where the Code of the Streets was the first code we learned. Respect and reputation are everything there. These values are often denigrated by people who have never been punched in the face. But when you live around violence there is no opting out. A reputation for meeting violence with violence is a shield. That protection increases when you are part of a crew with that same mind-set. This is obviously not a public health solution, but within its context, the Code is logical. Outside of its context, the Code is ridiculous.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates
“The set of practices required for a young man to secure his safety on the streets of his troubled neighborhood are not the same as those required to place him on an honor roll, and these are not the same as the set of practices required to write the great American novel.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates