About this blog:

What if they held a class war and nobody noticed? For decades, liberals and progressives have been bashed for conducting a "class war" every time they suggest that it would be appropriate for the extremely wealthy to shoulder a bit more of the burden of paying for government. Meanwhile, a swarm of far-right think-tanks and political action committees have been working tirelessly to promote the idea that taxes on the wealthy should be lowered further from their historic lows, and that entitlement programs such as social security and medicare are too expensive to sustain (and in any case, immoral). The latest attempts to delegitimize public employee unions are the logical next step in what genuinely appears to be the systematic dismantlement of the middle class. This blog will highlight some of the more extreme examples of this activity that may not always show up in your news feeds.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cracker Bay

Haha, has there ever been a more tone-deaf presidential candidate?

Separated at Birth?

As some know, longtime liberal blogger Roy Edroso recently got married.  (Congratulations, Roy and Kia!)  An unexpected consequence was his posting of a wedding pic, which shows his current appearance.  (I only knew what he looked like during his salad days fronting the Reverb Motherfuckers.  Go to 3:30 in the video below to hear him talking about "Scum Rock" and then a truly inspiring vocal performance.)

In any case, am I the only one wondering whether he could fill in for Lorne Michaels?

You Made Your Bed

Athenae nails it (regarding the CNN camera operator):

It's what you get when you invite people on the air who hate you. Who hate what you do. Who hate what you stand for. Who hate everything you are. Who say, out loud, that the world would be better off without you. Who think you're a detriment to society. Who "joke" about killing you.

It's what you get when you ignore the insults, laugh off the threats, listen thoughtfully to the invective. It's what you get when you not only allow yourself to be treated with disrespect, but you agree with those who don't respect you, and use the precious time and ink and space you have to give their already magnified opinions an even bigger view.
It's what you get when day after day after day after day you just sit there and take it. You've been ignoring the bully for three decades now. Has he gone away yet? Has he stopped?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wingnut Welfare Reform

Via Dennis G at Balloon Juice, we get Stephen Marche's take on the purpose of Niall Ferguson's recent excretion:
That number means that Ferguson doesn’t have to please his publishers; he doesn’t have to please his editors; he sure as hell doesn’t have to please scholars. He has to please corporations and high-net-worth individuals, the people who can pay 50 to 75K to hear him talk. That incredibly sloppy article was a way of communicating to them: I am one of you. I can give a great rousing talk about Obama’s failures at any event you want to have me at.

I especially liked Dennis' summation:

Perhaps our society needs Wingnut Welfare Reform to force some of these grifters to work for a living.

Monday, August 20, 2012


I don't have much to add about this incredibly hackish piece in Newsweek by Niall Ferguson.  James Fallows at The Atlantic has blasted both the content and it author, most effectively.  Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman also raised welts.

I have to confess to having held academics at elite places such as Harvard in high regard.  In my own field, most of them really are superstars, worthy of such admiration.  Clearly, as one moves to more subjective disciplines such as history, such distinctions become blurry.  This fellow has a long history of getting important things wrong in his articles, yet Harvard actively recruited him as the "Laurence Tisch Professor of History."  I will need to recalibrate my thinking on the relative quality of Harvard faculty.

Here's a nice summary of the whole Ferguson crap show, from John Cassidy at the New Yorker.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Margin Call

I've watched the movie Margin Call a couple of times, and found it quite engrossing.  It's been suggested that the company to which all the principal characters belong is a fictionalized version of Lehman Bros, complete with a CEO whose surname is very similar to Dick Fuld, the guy who oversaw the collapse of Lehman.  However, it is left uncertain at the end of the film whether the firm will go under, or whether, in fact, they may have saved themselves with their ruthless divesting of toxic assets.

In any case, one of the scenes that has really stuck with me is a monologue by Stanley Tucci's character, risk analyst Eric Dale, in which he describes to a former colleague the consequences of a bridge that he built in an earlier career as an engineer.  I guess I found it affecting because it seems to so perfectly capture the contrast between practical, real-world accomplishments on the one hand, and the endless churning of commoditized products by the financial sector on the other hand.  And guess which one always makes you richer.

Anyway, here's the clip.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 17, 2012


What DougJ said:

Establishment media will cluck and say “both sides do it” no matter what, so we may as well actually do it. If the refs are just handing out double technicals, you should get your money’s worth and kick the other guy in the balls as hard as you possibly can.

No Balls...or No Money?

Matt Taibbi rakes Holder's DoJ over the coals for deciding not to prosecute Goldman Sachs.  However, as MisterMix points out, the constant starving of the beast imposed by Republicans may have left them pathetically overmatched against Goldman's billions.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Folk Fest was great:  perfect weather all weekend, and Geoff Berner more than lived up to my expectations, complete with an awesome, bowderlized version of Daloy Polizei.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Where I'm Gonna Be

For the next few days, my attention is going to be occupied by this.  I've been going for years (probably a total of 13 or 14 times), and the music never lets me down.  The people sometimes, and the sheer logistical nightmare of securing a good tarp position on the hillside, but this year I have resolved not to care about where I sit for the main stage performances.  It will be all about the side stages.

There is one main stage act I am really looking forward to:  these guys.  And if you happen to be there at the right time, check out this guy.