Round-Up of Ephemera: The Euphemistic Papal Love Infusion

As it turns out, the Pope is Catholic.

People ask me to quit “spinning” for Pope Francis, when I point out that he is not the liberal progressive’s dream pope, that he isn’t a Marxist, and he won’t be presiding over gay weddings at St. Peter’s. (He tells us, also, by the way, not to ignore our brother — including the prisoner, the immigrant, the beggar, and anyone else you or I might have passed by or ignored today). In truth, I’m just trying to share what I know — what anyone can know by listening in.

Cracked Discovers the Euphemism Treadmill

Now we use terms like “mentally challenged,” “learning disabled,” or “special needs” to describe the same people, and we can only hope humanity has the wisdom to not turn those into insults as well.

We just probably shouldn’t bet money on it.

The making of ‘Whole Lotta Love’

Jimmy Page: I came up with the guitar riff for “Whole Lotta Love” in the summer of ’68, on my houseboat along the Thames in Pangbourne, England. I suppose my early love for big intros by rockabilly guitarists was an inspiration, but as soon as I developed the riff, I knew it was strong enough to drive the entire song, not just open it. When I played the riff for the band in my living room several weeks later during rehearsals for our first album, the excitement was immediate and collective. We felt the riff was addictive, like a forbidden thing.

Indeed.

Someone Invented Marijuana-Infused Coffee.

Because why not.

In Austin, Apparently Things Aren’t Supposed to Cost Money.

Parks and light rail are made with hope and dreams and the fierce urgency of change, you see.

“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchin Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8500 this year.

“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings [of "irate homeowners"]. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore.”

Um…

Homer-BlankStare-1

 

Okay, so…is this how things are supposed to work in your world?

  1. Vote for All the Neat Things
  2. Government builds All the Neat Things, Because it has All the Money
  3. ???????????
  4. TAXES STAY THE SAME!

Perhaps I’m being unfair. The person did say that she doesn’t mind paying taxes, so there’s obviously some awareness of the connection between public projects and the public purse. But the idea that public projects should keep pace with the tax base seems never to have occurred to her.

I should be sympathetic. I really should. This is exactly the result that people on my side of the aisle predict from the Progressive insistence on Having All the Things Now. But I’m not. Because when people on my side of the aisle make that prediction, people in Austin tell us we’re just a bunch of racist patriarchal bitterclinging ungoodthinkers, and that they, the Right Kind of People, know better.

So this silly bint can choke on her property tax bill until she figures out that when she approves a public project, she’s sending a bill to herself.

youdensemotherfucker

Why Government Bureaucracies are Un-Fixable

Megan McArdle gets the nature of the problem, in a very sensible article on the VA.

  1. You can’t fire government bureaucrats – especially not en masse, so matter what you do, old patterns re-emerge.
  2. Every “reform” just adds a new set of directives and rules without trimming or significantly changing the old ones.

What that means in plain English is that when you put reforms in place, you can’t just rip out the stuff that’s not working and do something different. What you’re actually reforming is the process, and because many of the current elements of the process are functionally mandated by other government rules, or court rulings, or bits of legislation that your reform effort didn’t amend, you have to layer your reform on top of the system you wanted to reform, rather than in place of it. Many of your reforms simply stack another layer of bureaucracy on top of the bureaucracy that was already causing problems. This is a problem that CEOs don’t face, unless they’re in some heavily regulated business such as banking or oil refining.

Most important, it is easier to change some parts of the system than others, and much easier to give something than to take something away. So it was relatively easy for Barack Obama to tell the VA that they had to do more to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. It seems to have been very hard to change the claims process to make it move faster or to hire more staff to help things move more quickly. The result was an even bigger backlog — and, since the reforms commanded the staff to move more patients, more quickly, the temptation to “juke the stats” to make the waiting lists appear shorter than they were.

So, while fully intending to make the VA work better, the Administration made it even worse.  And to a certain extent, this isn’t Obama’s fault. It’s not a question of having people who care more or are smarter – this is how bureaucracy functions. George W. Bush made a serious effort to make the VA work better, too. It did not.

So if every good-faith effort to fix a bureaucratic system just makes the thing more complex and counterproductive (Hi, No Child Left Behind!), what is to be done?

bureaucracy-cartoon

Why I’m Not Talking About Elliot Rogers, and You Shouldn’t Be, Either.

So a guy decides that he’s not getting sex enough, and that he’s gonna kill some people, and that will show them all . . . something.

Read that again. Did you notice the part where it doesn’t make any sense? Like, any at all?

Let’s go with that.

Let’s not turn Rogers into the latest representative of our favored demonologies – mysogynist, beta male, child of divorce, closeted gay, gun culture, feminazis, what have you. A few sophistic flips will make him stand in for any or none of them. And everyone knows that. So unless you’re talking to someone who already belongs to your particular ideological tribe, your learned discourse is going to meet rolling eyes. So let’s just…not.

Let’s not assume any more about Rogers than he was a disturbed young man who decided, quite deliberately and with malice aforethought, to explode, and take as many with him as he could (four men and two women, as it turned out). Let’s not use him, and the pain he’s caused six families, as another excuse to shout at each other on the Internet.

Let’s just skip to the end, where we shrug our shoulders and recognize that whatever was going on in this young man’s mind was beyond our ability to help, and we forget about it. Because it was, and we’re going to. He was sick, and he killed six people. There is no why. There is no answer. Homo homini lupus est.

Jeff Goldstein is Still Awesome

I don’t go over to Protein Wisdom as often as I used to, because Homer was right: no one wants to listen to Cassandra. And Goldstein has been too often right these last several years to qualify as anything other than a prophet of our times.

But sometimes, dammit, it’s lovely to hear the truth so refreshingly conveyed:

All of which is a rather lengthy way of telling you, with all due respect, Senator Paul, that Mitch McConnell can go fuck himself sideways with a frozen swordfish — and if you feel the need to strap it on to make him feel less like he’s simply masturbating, that’s your call. But count me out.

Regards,

Jeff Goldstein

proteinwisdom.com (an erstwhile important blog whose “Purity” and refusal to give go-along “conservatives” a pass has led to a campaign of marginalization; which doesn’t make what it has to offer any less correct) – See more at: http://proteinwisdom.com/#sthash.pBeVrzKD.dpuf

And there you go.

Die, Leviathan, Die.

They Had a Dream | The Weekly Standard.

“It is actually harder to do some of these things in reality than we thought when we put it down on paper,” a book review in the Washington Post quoted a former Obama health care adviser as saying. This can stand as the last word for the great aspiration, and the people who held it. They wanted their chance, and they got it. They had it. They blew it. They’re done.

Read the whole thing.