Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Why I'm a Liberal

Take two bloggers, one liberal, one conservatish, and give them the snafu at the Oscars to analyze.  What happens:
Now it could be just accident that Kevin is hard-headed and Ann is somewhat prone to suspect conspiracy, but I prefer to believe that these traits are strongly associated with the respective philosophies.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Washing Machines and Dog-Powers

Bloomberg has a piece on the long, long history of washing machines, as in 250 years + long.  (If I remember correctly, Hans Rosling credited the machines as one of the bigger improvements in our living standards.)  My mother would recall that the family dog would disappear on Mondays because that was wash day and he was expected to toil on the "dog power" to run the washing machine.  See this for an image and description.

Conservatives Surprise: Movie Reviews

Scott Johnson, a conservative at Powerline, is someone I rarely, perhaps never, agree with.  So his reviews of Fences, Hidden Figures, and Hell or High Water were surprising.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Old and the New Republicans

Back in my youth the lines of division in the Republican party ran between Bob Taft and Dwight Eisenhower.  Roughly speaking the former was more isolationist/nationalist/anti-communist/anti New Dealer and the latter was more international, more free trade, more open to talks with the USSR, and more willing to swallow hard and keep Social Security. In 1960 Nelson Rockefeller represented the latter (the Wall Street Republicans) and Richard Nixon the former (the Main Street Republicans). The Goldwater movement put the former on top, for a while, while Nixon in 1968 merged the two pretty well. Reagan also blurred the lines by the way he governed.

Jumping ahead to now, it's fascinating to look at the divisions Trumpery is creating.  George Will and Charles Krauthammer are anti-Trump, though Krauthammer's last column acknowledged possible benefits in foreign policy from a good-cop, bad-cop approach.  Some economists, like Don Beaudreaux of GMU at Cafe Hayek and Keith Hennessey, former CEA member, are somewhat horrified by Trump's trade and economic thoughts/tweets.

Friday, February 24, 2017

McArdle on "Authentic Food" and Church Suppers

Megan McArdle writes on "authentic food".  I agree with most of what she writes, except for the bit about "drying off" cows, which shows she didn't grow up on a dairy farm.  However there are times and places where "authentic food" is good eating, at least in memory.  For example, church/grange suppers in my youth.  The point there was each woman was bringing a dish which she was proud of, with which she wanted to impress the neighbors, hopefully even to field requests for the recipe. (I've still got my mother's card file of recipes, many gathered from her friends.) So the food was good.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fake Mustaches--Dangerous to Health

Margaret Soltan links to a wikipedia piece on the president of Argentina (perhaps he'll be a soulmate of ours?):

He wore a fake moustache and impersonated singer Freddie Mercury during the party. He accidentally swallowed the moustache, and Minister of Health Jorge Lemus performed first aid to save his life.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I'm a Born Civilian

That's what I joke to my wife, as a description of my time in the Army.  With that perspective, may I offer a small caveat to the praise being heaped on the President's new national security adviser, Gen. McMaster?  I don't know when having a Phd became the automatic basis for being an intellectual?  I suppose it partly reflects our (liberals) general incredulity that a military man could earn one. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"Deep State" Again

Benjamin Wallace-Wells has a good piece in the New Yorker on the "deep state", particularly ICE and the Border Patrol. Apparently "deep state" is now a thing, discovered by Ann Althouse, Rush Limbaugh and Chris Wallace--see Althouse's post.

A number of comments mention the great British comedy "Yes Minister" , which I recommend to everyone.  (It helps to explain some of the  errors of the Trump administration, as the new minister is educated by the permanent under-secretary.)  For those with a taste for more action, the Sandbaggers
combines secret agents with a good taste of bureaucracy.  For a more modern taste, the Americans 
also has a bit of bureaucracy thrown in.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bureaucrat Becomes President

I'm always glad to see a bureaucrat get ahead in the world, as described in this Politico piece on Somalia elections.

Factoids: "this year, of Somalia’s 24 presidential candidates, nine held American passports"

" among the seven countries included in Trump’s attempted ban, most boast influential officials who spent time in the United States, usually to attend school. Former prime ministers in Yemen and Libya attended American universities. One of them, Shukri Ghanem, was a reformer who worked, with some success, to push Muammar Qadhafi toward reconciliation with the west. Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister who oversaw negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal, went to a private high school in San Francisco and received a B.A. and M.A. from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Denver. An influential rebel leader from Sudan who was a key player in the country’s 2005 peace agreement, John Garang, attended Grinnell College in an Iowa town of 9,000 surrounded by cornfields."

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Rape Is a Rape Is a Rape?

Not so.  This piece on the Swedish "rape crisis" explains why it's in the definition.

[Updated: Kevin Drum isn't a fan of the article's stats.]