Category Archives: sarcasm is the lowest form of wit

June 19, 2013, 4:57 pm

If Only…

PiningAs far as I can tell, the thesis of this article is that if only Barack Obama had visited all 50 states, partisan polarization would disappear:

So Mr. Obama has not given North Dakota his time. It is one of six states he has not visited as president, along with South Dakota, Arkansas, Idaho, South Carolina and Utah. He has gone just once to Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Tennessee and Wyoming.

Mr. Obama’s near-complete absence from more than 25 percent of the states, from which he is politically estranged, is no surprise, in that it reflects routine cost-benefit calculations of the modern presidency. But in a country splintered by partisanship and race, it may also have consequences.

America’s 21st-century politics, as underscored by the immigration debate now embroiling Congress, increasingly pits the preferences of a dwindling, Republican-leaning white majority…

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June 12, 2012, 6:05 pm

Does David Brooks just pick dates out of a hat?

From the howling vacuum that is David Brooks’s historical consciousness escapes this gem:

Vast majorities of Americans don’t trust their institutions. That’s not mostly because our institutions perform much worse than they did in 1925 and 1955, when they were widely trusted.

Let’s pass swiftly over 1955, when our institutions were so trusted that vast swathes of the unReconstructed South decided they could disobey the Supreme Court, a state of affairs that would last until the Great Golfer sent the 101st Airborne (late of Normandy) to liberate Little Rock, and say uncomprehendingly to ourselves, 1925? When the nation realized that agents of the Doheny and Sinclair petroleum concerns were delivering cash and livestock to the Secretary of the Interior in exchange for favorable considerations? When Americans so trusted their institutions that they were defying federal law on a …

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May 25, 2012, 12:53 pm

My new course will be titled “US History: The Awesomeness of Awesome Americans.”

Updated to add, “Hello, Paul Krugman readers!”1

“A Crisis of Competence,” which bills itself as “A Report Prepared for the Regents of the University of California by the California Association of Scholars, A Division of the National Association of Scholars,” (hereafter CAS, for short) has garnered a great deal of attention. It was, apparently, the basis for Rick Santorum’s laughably false claims that California’s universities do not teach US history – though to be fair to the report, Santorum evidently misunderstood what was in it. It was the subject of an April 1 news story (no, not an April Fool’s) in the Los Angeles Times. And it was the basis for a May 20 op-ed in the LA Times. To be fair to the LA Times, its own editorial, on April 7, was skeptical of the report, describing it as “a mélange of anecdotes.”

This is correct: the paper’s methodology is highly suspect,…

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November 6, 2011, 5:18 pm

A Completely Biased and Unfair Guide to Whether Or Not To Read a Particular Author in the “Sunday Review” Part of the NY Times Today, with Cursing, Some One-Sentence Summaries, and Occasional Alternate Suggestions of Things To Do That Would Be Less Painful Than Reading Said Article

Front to back: Sanger, sure; Carr; eh, okay; Letters, no; Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me, yes; Bruni, no, any of his restaurant reviews; Murphy, meh; McFadden, Tom Tomorrow is better; Seidel, no, “Fake semi-hipster sociology”; Shourd, yes, but also “Ohmigod, you mean bad things happen in the US, too? Who could have imagined? My stars”; Emanuel, no, “No one understands health care but me”; McGrath, no, having “Lindsay Lohan” tattooed on your forehead; Data Points, no, “Look! The ‘Fall of the Yuan Dynasty’ has critical and important implications for today’s world. Gee, we’re brainy”; Edsall, sure; Galston, no, reading other pieces advocating policies that will never, ever, ever, never get established in the US; Gessen, no, “Wow, those Russians are wacky. And the Chinese, too”; Editorials, Jesus Christ, no; Week Ahead, no, “Russians, Asians, and Ohioans are sure dangerous”; Kristof, sigh,…

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August 16, 2010, 7:08 am

It's not nutpicking if it's in the NYT, I swear.

I wish I could get paid to peddle ignorance.  (Hush, you.)  Seriously.  Douthat wants American Muslims to recognize that to fit into the American Protestant religious model,  they must reject radicalism in favor of bland assimilationist piety consonant with Western values.

I have an idea!  Maybe one of those moderate imams, you know, the trusted sort that Bush’s administration could consult with after 9/11, one of the good guys, should start a, what should we call it, maybe a Muslim Knights of Columbus or YMMA, a-a-a cultural center!  and put it in a modest, nondescript building in a major metropolitan area.  That would be a good way to show willing.  And they shouldn’t name it something foreign-sounding, but maybe pick an easy-to-pronounce Western name that evokes a place where scholars from all religions could come and work and learn together.

(I wonder where Opus Dei’s NYC…

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April 11, 2010, 7:21 pm

And somewhere, Daniel Patrick Moynihan is smiling.

Today, Phil Mickelson struck a blow for monogamy and all that is right about America. With the vile Tiger Woods (I mean, how dare he not serve as a paragon of good behavior like Charles Barkley once did?) vanquished and Mickelson wrapped in the arms of his loving wife, no one in this country will ever cheat on a spouse again. Better still, Mickelson’s triumph at Augusta National Golf Club, long recognized as one of this nation’s great social engineering projects, means that African-American children will, going forward, grow up in intact families. Our teeming ghettos are filled with laughter and singing tonight.