31 December 2017

Remembrance of Erica Garner

But it ain't what you cop / It's about what you keep
Lauryn Hill, "Final Hour"


And in those frigid days when Omarosa left the ice palace,
When Melania and Louise were drinkin' deeply of the gold chalice,
There was an inferno in Belmont, it consumed twelve martyrs;
The ice king turned to jelly 'bout LeBron and NFL starters;

The LORD was not mocked, His saints went on preachin',
By fearless example they turned their grief into teachin'.
Polarizin', they were, but people forget
How the planet needs its magnetic poles set.
I could ask an old white man how to fix our society,
But ain't just those folks who got a sense of propriety.




20 December 2017




This is why I won't pay for cable TV, not even MSNBC (though I love Chris Hayes!)  Stephanie, you do not need to congratulate the Congressman twice for what happened.  He did not just give birth. 

Next summer is likely to be a time of Grande Peur for biotechnology companies and the straight white guys that own them.






13 December 2017

The full text of Psalm 40 (NRSV), on which Roy Moore based his concession-just-kidding speech, annotated with translation notes:

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit [or: pit of tumult]
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
Happy are those who make the LORD their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after false gods.
You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
they would be more than can be counted.
Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
but you have given me an open ear [ears you have dug for me].
Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
Then I said, "Here I am;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me [meaning of Hebrew uncertain].
I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart."
I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O LORD.
I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
Do not, O LORD, withhold your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.
For evils have encompassed me without number;
my iniquities have overtaken me, until I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails me.
Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me;
O LORD, make haste to help me.
Let all those be put to shame and confusion
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who desire my hurt.
Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, "Aha! Aha!"
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, "Great is the LORD!"
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God.

03 December 2017

Political science:  sometimes the profession gets it just right, but sometimes gets it so wrong that I have to wonder if the professionals ever read political news or just go with their Platonic-idealist guts all the time.  (Maybe if they had wanted to "do empiricism," they would have become historians.)

Here's a very good example of good political science from Prof. Julia Azari.

If you haven't exceeded your maximum articles per month, you can compare and contrast her article with this flowery Beltway-decorum-soaked nostra culpa from Norman Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann.  Eight years after Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) screamed "You lie!" at President Obama on the floor of Congress, and after two Republican government shutdowns, they are admitting that well, Republicans don't really see "government as an essential and ennobling responsibility."  Great.  But still, "the Republican Party must reclaim its purpose."  And this is where I ask them to put down the Pythagorean singing bowls.

02 December 2017

   "I'm only tired -- it is nothing," she found voice to say in a moment; and then, as she met the timid appeal of her companion's eyes, she added involuntarily:  "I have been unhappy -- in great trouble."
   "You in trouble? I've always thought of you as being so high up, where everything was just grand.  Sometimes, when I felt real mean, and got to wondering why things were so queerly fixed in the world, I used to remember that you were having a lovely time, anyhow, and that seemed to show there was a kind of justice somewhere.  But you mustn't sit here too long -- it's fearfully damp.  Don't you feel strong enough to walk on a little ways now?" she broke off.
   "Yes -- yes; I must go home," Lily murmured, rising.
   Her eyes rested wonderingly on the thin shabby figure at her side.  She had known Nettie Crane as one of the discouraged victims of over-work and anemic parentage:  one of the superfluous fragments of life destined to be swept prematurely into that social refuse-heap of which Lily had so lately expressed her dread.  But Nettie Struther's frail envelope was now alive with hope and energy: whatever fate the future reserved for her, she would not be cast into the refuse-heap without a struggle.

Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth, Book II, Chapter XIII

01 December 2017

Now the Senate majority is back to its favorite pastime, not doing its job.  Literally.  Nothing is happening, not even a quorum call.  Bus drivers and security guards and police officers will risk their lives all across DC this evening and this night and all they're gonna get is a $75 increase in the child tax credit, if they happen to have a child (as per Bob Casey's numbers).

Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) seems genuinely shocked that Republicans aren't speedy in producing the full text of the bill to be voted on.  Welcome to Wisconsin, Ron.  You can expect it at about 2:43 am, I would say.

Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) has been by far the most persuasive orator today, that is, provided you don't see the economy as an elderly penis.
"We have the most progressive tax code, I would argue, in all the world ... we have a bill that's based on reasonable assumptions about growth ... too many people have known nothing but 1.9% growth.  This is America!"

Sen. John Thune , R-South Viagra, this afternoon.