Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, August 14, 2015 6:10 pm

Odds and ends for Aug. 14

U.S. Rep. Walter “Freedom Fries” Jones, a Republican who represents North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, voted for war against Iraq. However, unlike so many backers of that misbegotten expedition, he deeply and publicly repented of that decision. And he’s still repenting:

“I did not do what I should have done to read and find out whether Bush was telling us the truth about Saddam being responsible for 9/11 and having weapons of mass destruction. Because I did not do my job then, I helped kill 4,000 Americans, and I will go to my grave regretting that.”

Chelsea Manning committed a crime knowing prison would be the likely outcome. Still, the military’s threat to place her in indefinite solitary confinement strikes me as piling on.

Could we be seeing a “Central American spring”? I’ll believe it when/if it comes to pass, but I’m hopeful.

Connecticut has banned the death penalty, but I’m thinking that in this particular case the state Supreme Court may have overreached in doing so.


Monday, February 24, 2014 10:52 pm

Bonus quote of the day

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 10:52 pm

From Ed at Gin & Tacos: Florida: “(i)t’s democracy’s meth lab.”

Quote of the Day, America-we’re-all-in-this-together edition

Filed under: America. It was a really good idea,Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 10:10 pm

Athenae at First Draft:

There is no way out of paying for somebody else. There is no way to live in our society completely independent of everybody else. You drive on the roads, you drink the water, you nod hello at your neighbor in the morning, and every time you put gas in your tank you’re a part of something. You can either suck it up and admit that, and sit down and figure out the best way for us all to get what we need, or we can keep having these stupid fights and talking about MAH TAX DOLLAHS buying T-bone steaks and [expletive].

You’re paying for it either way, so the only real question is how much of an [expletive] you want to be in the process.


Sunday, December 8, 2013 1:22 pm

Quote of the Day, Social Security edition

Filed under: I want my money back.,Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 1:22 pm

Accused by faux-centrist right-wingers Third Way of proposing changes to Social Security that would give Citi CEO Jamie Dimon greater Social Security benefits, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., replied, “Oh please. I’m out there working for Jamie Dimon the same way Dick Cheney is out there trying to save the environment.”

UPDATE: Well, this is cute: a quick look at the names and occupations of the head honchos of Third Way. I’m sure we’re talking middle-of-the-road moderates here:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 6:26 pm

Quote of the Day, Thomas Paine edition

Mr. Paine was talking about hereditary monarchy, but he could as well be speaking of hereditary oligarchy, the condition toward which the U.S. is headed like a rocket on rails thanks to corrupt legislative and judicial branches and a cowardly executive (not to mention a bought-and-paid-for N.C. General Assembly, which just abolished the estate tax):

But it is not so much the absurdity as the evil of hereditary succession which concerns mankind. Did it ensure a race of good and wise men it would have the seal of divine authority, but as it opens a door to the FOOLISH, the WICKED, and the IMPROPER, it hath in it the nature of oppression. Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent. Selected from the rest of mankind, their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed in the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.

(h/t: Erik Loomis, Lawyers, Guns & Money)

Quote of the day, old friends/NC legislature edition

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 6:08 pm

From my college classmate Joanna Hunt Whitehouse, not normally one to raise her voice:

Let me get this straight: the North Carolina legislature has eliminated extra pay for teachers with advanced degrees, ditched tenure, said ‘NO’ to a raise, and dispensed with teaching assistants, all in the name of “improving” education. AND they claim they are trying to attract businesses to our state. I guess these future entrepreneurs should practice celibacy, since they would be foolish to try to raise children here.

Monday, April 15, 2013 5:57 pm

Quote of the day, James Madison just-because edition

This isn’t, as they say on Twitter, a subtweet. It’s not intended for anyone in particular. It’s not related directly to anything in the news (although it could relate to almost everything). I just read it at Charlie Pierce’s place — he concludes each day with a Madison quote, which is a nice and thoughtful way to conclude a day, and this one is from Friday — and I liked it and thought you’d like it, too:

In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them. He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them. He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person. He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them. In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.

— James Madison, Papers, March 29, 1792.

Thursday, March 21, 2013 7:35 pm

An imagination beyond one’s tribe

Quote of the day, from Sir Charles at Cogitamus:

I have been a liberal for a long time as have many of the people I’ve known.  And let me assure you, it wasn’t because back in 1980 or 1984 or 1988 all of the cool kids were doing the liberal thing and supporting food stamps.  It was because I — like most people who hung in there during the Reagan years — had the moral imagination to consider what life might have been like if I lost the lottery and was born poor.  It was because a study of history led me to understand how tenuous the climb to middle class status had been for so many people and how much the government giving people a hand up had meant to vast swaths of society.  I was a white male middle class kid, but I understood that the world was bigger than my tribe, a spirit that continues to animate most people on the left.  I did not grow up in an ideological household.  … [My parents] were both very devoted to overall notions of fairness.  (Neither has voted for a Republican since 1976 — I take some of the credit.)  I took that overall spirit of fairness and constructed a political view that struck me as consistent with it — a kind of Rawlsian view of the world long before I ever heard of John Rawls.

Emphasis added, because the concepts included therein are so critically important for a society to function.

“Moral imagination” is just another word for empathy. Without it, we are nothing more or less than sociopaths, we have way too many of those already and we are making more by the day.

The notion of life as lottery is something many conservatives and so-called libertarians find risible. But when you compare social mobility in the U.S. with that of other wealthy Western countries, you find something interesting and disturbing: Only the U.K. has less social mobility than we do.* Parents’ wealth is the biggest single predictor of offspring’s financial success. I suppose it was only coincidence that I learned today that Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget would ax the state’s inheritance tax completely.

History does indeed show that a lot of people are middle-class today only because their ancestors who were not fought to be. The labor movement of the ’30s, the right of women to vote, the civil-rights movement, and perhaps most importantly the desegregation of K-12 schools and higher education in the face of bitter resistance, all played a part in helping to increase the size of the middle class. And it’s no coincidence that all these efforts are under attack today, or that those attacks are funded by a very small number of very wealthy people who think the Constitution mandates a plutocracy. I suppose it is only coincidence, then, that the same gov I mentioned a graf ago is attacking teaching the liberal arts (such as, oh, say, history) in the UNC system.

Yes, by hook and by crook, the gov and the thugs who fund him seem bent on keeping the proles proles and turning more non-proles into proles. Sir Charles suggests above that they do not understand that the world is bigger than their tribe. I think the problem is bigger than that. I think they understand and actively seek to screw everyone who is not part of their tribe, because this hypothesis is the simplest explanation for what is otherwise a set of decisions difficult to justify on grounds of fairness, practicality or public good.

Evidence to the contrary is welcome, but I’m not holding my breath.

*Corak, Miles. 2006. “Do Poor Children Become Poor Adults? Lessons from a Cross Country Comparison of Generational Earnings Mobility.” Research on Economic Inequality, 13 no. 1: 143-188.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 7:56 pm

Quote of the Day

From Steve M. at No More Mr. Nice Blog:

… we think we live in a democracy, but mostly we just watch the rich fight. We just get lucky when a few of them fight on our side.

Monday, November 5, 2012 10:09 pm

Quote of the Day, One Week After Sandy Edition

“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

— Theoretical physicist Richard Feynman, a member of the commission that investigated the cause of the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, in his appendix to the commission report.

Thursday, October 18, 2012 7:56 pm

Quotes of the Day, Charlie Pierce’s Comments Section edition

Filed under: Evil,Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 7:56 pm

Below this post:

“Too many in this country would rather be [raped] by business than helped by government.” — Barry Friedman

“Those of us who drive on our nation’s roads are well aware that most of us are idiots at best, and greedy, selfish, homicidal morons at worst. At least once a month I now get to see an ambulance (and once a fire engine!) with lights and siren on, have to fight its way through an intersection because cross traffic simply refuses to stop. Stuff as simple as driving depends almost entirely on self-policing, but for too many of us, “self-policing” is what suckers do. There’s a good reason why the modern GOP still commands such a strong following — most of us are scum.” — John Robinson (not this one)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:34 am

Quote of the Day, Aftermath of the Second Presidential Debate edition

Commenter Frank Armstrong at Charlie Pierce’s place:  “I think tonight Barack’s name was Inigo Montoya, and Willard did something bad to his father.”

Monday, October 15, 2012 7:51 pm

Quote of the Day, “What the GOP is good at’ edition

Commenter Roy Webb at Charlie Pierce’s blog:

… it isn’t governing, it isn’t the economy, it isn’t fighting wars, it isn’t “promoting the general welfare,” it isn’t anything relating to the normal functions one would assign to a government. What they are good at is making up inflammatory names for normal processes, and scaring the less-informed into voting against their own best interests. At that, they are masters.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 7:23 pm

Quote of the Day, rich people edition

Filed under: Evil,Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 7:23 pm
Tags: , , ,

Duncan “Atrios” Black:

The truth is, Our Galtian Overlords are frequently just [jerks] because they are [jerks], not because being [jerks] will actually make them any richer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 7:01 pm

Quote of the Day

Filed under: I want my money back.,Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 7:01 pm
Tags: , ,

From economist Brad DeLong, on former Bush economic official Glenn Hubbard: “May I say that I am sick of budget arsonists wearing fire chief hats?”

Thursday, November 3, 2011 11:26 pm

Quote of the day

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 11:26 pm
Tags: ,

The Boston Globe effed up and got rid of Charles Pierce, so Esquire snapped him up and set him to political blogging. Everybody wins:

“… with all due respect to E. J. Dionne, the only difference between the ‘old’ South Carolina conservatives and the ‘new’ South Carolina conservatives is that Jim DeMint isn’t knocking up black women the way that Strom Thurmond used to.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 6:39 am

Quote of the day …

Filed under: Quote Of The Day,We're so screwed — Lex @ 6:39 am

… from Fecund Stench, that puts our current political situation into perspective:


Reasonable people tend to agree that the benefits of an apocalypse are overrated.

Shorter Fec: We’re so screwed.

Friday, August 12, 2011 8:36 pm

Lots of noseless people with spited faces

Filed under: Quote Of The Day,Sad — Lex @ 8:36 pm

From commenter MichaelF at First Draft:

“It never ceases to amaze me the lengths people will go to, the resources they’ll expend, and the privations they’ll accept … just so they can hate.”


Thursday, August 11, 2011 9:04 pm

‘nother Quote of the Day

Filed under: I want my country back.,Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 9:04 pm

DougJ at Balloon Juice:

I think a big thing is the idea that being an [expletive] all the time won’t really lead to a perfect free market Galtian paradise, and even if it did, I wouldn’t want to live here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 8:19 pm

Another quote of the day

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 8:19 pm
Tags: ,

Commenter Gerald Fnord, at Edroso’s place:

The problem with a system that will let you buy anything is that everything will be for sale … at which point no right is inalienable.

Put another way, the market is not a solution for everything, and even libertarians — sane ones — grant that.

Saturday, July 2, 2011 5:45 pm

Quote of the day

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns!,Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 5:45 pm

From Kay at Balloon Juice:

Conservatives like Walker continue to compare voting to buying cold medicine or cashing a check or driving a car, none of which are valid comparisons, because they want us to accept their belief that voting is a privilege, not a right. Fact is, it’s a lie to compare a right (like voting) to a privilege or commercial transaction (like driving or buying cold medicine), and every time you hear that comparison from a conservative, and you hear it a lot, they’re lying to you.

Anyone who insists that voter fraud is a major problem and/or that vote suppression is not is lying or badly misled.

Sunday, June 19, 2011 9:13 am

Quote of the day

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 9:13 am

” I never complain when a great artist produces less over time, or stops, because it’s a miracle that we get art at all, let alone genius.”

— Roy Edroso, The Village Voice

Thursday, February 10, 2011 8:15 pm

Quote of the Day

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 8:15 pm
Tags: ,

Henry Adams, on a Chronicle of Higher Education blog:

To be fair, many English instructors (especially fans of Wordsworth) believe that human beings will do the right thing if someone explains it to them properly. I find that notion charming, but I don’t see how anyone who teaches first-year composition can hold it for long.

I was an English major. I did my senior thesis on Wordsworth’s Prelude. And I, too, find that notion charming. But I gave it up early in life, without ever having taught first-year composition. Indeed, I am so far from convinced that people will do the right thing if someone explains it to them properly that I’m unsure whether Jesus Christ Himself could gather 12 disciples these days without pointing a gun at people first.



Friday, February 4, 2011 5:49 am

Quote of the Day

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 5:49 am

… from novelist/playwright/journalist Roger Rosenblatt, on PBS’s “NewsHour”:

We write to make suffering endurable, evil intelligible, justice desirable and love possible. And I can elaborate on those things.

But the most important is love. That after all the suffering, all the injustice, all the evil that one sees in the world, if you can rise above it and make it beautiful, and thus lovable then that’s worth a life.

Well, three out of four ain’t bad.

There’s a reason Paul wrote that of faith, hope and love, the greatest is love. Cynical though I am, I think that humans are so hard-wired to love that love would be possible with or without writing.

But the other three? As long as suffering and evil exist and justice is delayed or denied, writers will always have a job … and this blog will always have a mission.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 8:50 pm

Shine a light and see what skitters

Quote of the day, courtesy of commenter captainmandrake at

If nothing else, [WikiLeaks founder Julian] Assange has lifted a rock out of which Nazis and the deeply stupid have crawled. It’s been very clarifying.

As is the original article by Dan Gillmor (full disclosure: I met him once), on which captainmandrake was commenting.


Monday, August 23, 2010 9:39 pm

Quote of the Day

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns!,Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 9:39 pm

Steve Benen at Washington Monthly: “I imagine that if the RNC [Republican National Committee] hired a science advisor, she’d be the single most bored person in American politics.”

Monday, June 21, 2010 6:22 pm

Quote of the day

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.: “I mean, I don’t speak Latin. But unless stare decisis* means ‘overturn stuff,’ then maybe it’s time for conservatives to stop calling other people ‘dangerous radicals.'”

*”To stand by that which has been decided,” more or less. I don’t speak Latin, either. Oh, and if you follow that link and scroll down, you’ll get to the full text of Franken’s speech, and Dawn Johnsen’s. Both are very much worth reading.

Thursday, June 17, 2010 8:27 pm

Quote of the day

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 8:27 pm

Fecund Stench: “Whatever success I’ve had over the years has actually been the result of what opps I’ve declined, rather than those I’ve accepted. One bad client can ruin your life.”

The small PR agency I once worked for once took a client like that. We ended up having to sue to get the last three months’ worth of the retainer the client contracted to pay, and that’s only a small part of the trouble they put us through.

As a freelancer, I’ve been very lucky: All my clients have paid eventually. Most have paid promptly, including the ones who were paying kill fees, of which I’ve had to take a blessedly low two in 30 years. I’ve never had to sue a client, nor been so much as threatened with a suit in return. Part of the reason is that I generally charge less than I’m worth, but I know better than to think that this extended string of good fortune stems from any discernment skills on my part with respect to for whom I agree to freelance.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 6:38 am

Quote of the day

Filed under: Fun,Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 6:38 am

“It’s never too late for a troubled adolescence.”

— DivaGeek

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 5:49 am

Quote of the day …

… from Eli at Firedoglake:

… the disasters we have now aren’t caused by perfect storms of outside forces and godawful presidents, they’re the inevitable consequence of decades of systemic rot in our regulatory structure – rot paid for greedy, reckless corporations and delivered by corrupt, irresponsible politicians.

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