A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

And The Overstatement Of The Day

by evanmcmurry

Krauthammer on White House Budget Proposal: ‘Robert E. Lee Was Offered Easier Terms At Appomattox’

This is like that Tom Waits bit on Big Time when he says, “All right, we’re going to have to go alllllllllll the way back to the Civil War…”

Sentence of the Day

by evanmcmurry

As usual, from Pierce, on the Fix The Debt con:

Listening to these people talk about the national economy is like listening to a burglar tell you that you should really polish the silver more often.

Whole thing is worth a read.

GOP Learns What Obama Was Saying While They Had Their Fingers In Their Ears

by evanmcmurry

One of the more oft heard complaints in the latter days of the campaign, from Democrat as well as Republican pundits and figures, was that Obama had presented no plan for his second administration, but was simply running an anti-Romney campaign and getting away with it. This was a neat way to obscure the fact that Romney had literally offered no proposals, as opposed to just not offering the sweeping type that was suddenly a requirement of Obama (never mind that the moment Obama did begin to talk like this, he was lampooned as having a savior-celebrity complex).

Anyhoo, here’s Greg Sargeant:

A key observation about the new White House offer from the Post reporting team: 

While the proposal seemed to startle Republicans, it contains little that would be unfamiliar to anyone following the president’s public statements.

Obama campaigned on much of this stuff, and won. It’s not surprising it’s in his opening bid.

It is if you were making TelePrompter jokes while he was talking. Republicans refused to listen to anything Obama said, then accused him of saying nothing, and are now shocked that all the stuff he was saying while they smirking has a fighting chance of becoming policy 32 days from now.

Charles Dickens’ Bonfires Were Bigger Than Philip Roth’s

by evanmcmurry

Hillary Kelly nails it in The New Republic when she essentially argues that Philip Roth’s recent request that his journals and letters be destroyed after his death is no more than Roth begging loudly for them to be published. Along the way is this tidbit:

Charles Dickens understood how this works: He periodically built massive bonfires in his yard to destroy his private letters and journals.

Good lord, how big were those fires, and how long did they last? A rough draft of Bleak House could burn all night.

How Richard Nixon Almost Ran Baseball (And Why It Would Have Been Better If He Had)

by evanmcmurry

The historical what-ifs embedded in this paragraph are boggling:

In 1966, when he was elected to run the players’ union, Miller was in some ways too big for the job. An economist and leader in the United Steelworkers union, he had met and directly negotiated with American presidents and been offered both a visiting professorship at Harvard and work directing a long-term study for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Baseball, by contrast, was a backwater. The players were so naïve that he had to explain to them at an early meeting that they were being screwed over because their pensions didn’t have any mechanisms to adjust for inflation. He also warned his soon-to-be constituency that Richard Nixon, a rival for the job, probably had political ambitions beyond heading their union. (Later, he was able to gloat. “I was glad to see he had managed to find work after losing out on the Players Association job,” he wrote of meeting President Nixon in 1969.)

Nixon did have those ambitions, and because he didn’t get  the job he was free to pursue them, no? Can anyone imagine what baseball would be like right now if Nixon had gotten his fangs into it in 1966? More important, wouldn’t the 300 million non-baseball players of this nation be a lot better off if he had? I dunno about you, but I’d gladly forego free agency if it meant the southern strategy had never been invented and implemented, wouldn’t you?