Posted by Brad @ 4:21 pm on June 14th 2011

Quote of the Day

Mitt Romney, taking a tour of a diner in Derry, New Hampshire.

On the way out, Romney meets the restaurant’s owner, poses for a photo with her — holding the restaurant’s coffee mugs — and tells her a joke.

“I saw a young man over there with the eggs benedict,” says Romney. “He had the eggs benedict with a hollandaise sauce and the eggs, there. And I was going to suggest to you that you serve your eggs with hollandaise sauce and hubcaps. Because there’s no plates like chrome for the hollandaise!”

She laughs very politely.

“Sorry,” says Romney.


Posted by Brad @ 2:49 pm on May 23rd 2011

Quote of the Day

“We don’t need to rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America, we need to reread the Constitution and enforce the Constitution. … And I know that there are some people that are not going to do that, so for the benefit of those who are not going to read it because they don’t want us to go by the Constitution, there’s a little section in there that talks about ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’

You know, those ideals that we live by, we believe in, your parents believed in, they instilled in you. When you get to the part about ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ don’t stop there, keep reading. Cause that’s when it says ‘when any form of government becomes destructive of those ideals, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.’ We’ve got some altering and some abolishing to do!”

Herman Cain, officially declaring himself a candidate for president on Saturday


Posted by Brad @ 10:21 am on May 11th 2011

Quote of the Day

“In recent years, among the greatest impediments to reform were questions about border security. These were legitimate concerns; it’s true that a lack of manpower and resources at the border, combined with the pull of jobs and ill-considered enforcement once folks were in the country, contributed to a growing number of undocumented people living in the United States. And these concerns helped unravel a bipartisan coalition we forged back when I was a United States Senator. In the years since, ‘borders first’ has been a common refrain, even among those who previously supported comprehensive immigration reform.

Well, over the past two years we have answered those concerns. Under Secretary Napolitano’s leadership, we have strengthened border security beyond what many believed was possible. They wanted more agents on the border. Well, we now have more boots on the ground on the southwest border than at any time in our history. The Border Patrol has 20,000 agents – more than twice as many as there were in 2004, a build up that began under President Bush and that we have continued.

They wanted a fence. Well, that fence is now basically complete.

And we’ve gone further. We tripled the number of intelligence analysts working the border. I’ve deployed unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol the skies from Texas to California. We’ve forged a partnership with Mexico to fight the transnational criminal organizations that have affected both of our countries. And for the first time we are screening 100 percent of southbound rail shipments – to seize guns and money going south even as we go after drugs coming north.

So, we have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I suspect there will be those who will try to move the goal posts one more time. They’ll say we need to triple the border patrol. Or quadruple the border patrol. They’ll say we need a higher fence to support reform.

Maybe they’ll say we need a moat. Or alligators in the moat.”

President Obama

Lots here to quibble with, of course, but I think the thought is basically correct. I do not believe that there is a level of border enforcement within the realm of the possible that will satisfy the Secure Borders crowd. Along a similar line, I have a hard time taking seriously the “they should come over legally” argument from people that have absolutely no interest in increasing quotes to meet demand (and who, in fact, raise hell when anybody suggests that), or making that process more efficient and, frankly, possible, for the majority of people desirous to come here (or already here). It’s one of those thoughts that is absolutely correct as a theory of the rule of law, and breaks down entirely the second you examine it in the context of our real world situation.

The real truth of it is that a great chunk of the America First crowd will just not be satisfied with Mexicans coming to America in any great numbers, period. I know that’s uncharitable to say, but I believe it to be true.

Posted by Brad @ 9:01 am on May 6th 2011

Quote of the Day

I have no idea why Rick Santorum would be any better a candidate in this cycle than Sam Brownback was in the last – as usual, the assumption from non-Republicans is always that the most virulently social conservative candidate wins, when not only is that true but it’s usually the opposite of true. But, in any case, I thought I’d throw out a solid “Do Not Want” anyway by presenting you a quote from him after the debate that strikes me as among the most anti-liberty conceptualizations I’ve heard expressed from a major American political figure in a good long while.

He told reporters that “laws teach” when they “reflect the collective morality of our people.”

“I always say freedom is not the freedom from, it’s the freedom for,” Santorum said. “It’s freedom to do what you ought to do. It’s freedom to do what you’re called to do, which is a freedom — within the Western civilization — to serve God, to take care of your neighbor, to provide for your family, to live a good and just and virtuous life. That’s what freedom really is.”

Got that, Americans? The laws are supposed to “teach”, and you have the freedom…to serve God.

Posted by Brad @ 3:52 pm on May 2nd 2011

A Brief Coda to Bin Laden’s Death

It’s hard for me to be too jubilant, given what I now see as America’s eagerness to tear up its own national fabric in the wake of 911. So I think it’s appropriate to at least throw Glenn Greenwald’s misanthropic warning out there:

But beyond the emotional fulfillment that comes from vengeance and retributive justice…is the question of what, if anything, is going to change as a result of the two bullets in Osama bin Laden’s head? Are we going to fight fewer wars or end the ones we’ve started? Are we going to see a restoration of some of the civil liberties which have been eroded at the alter of this scary Villain Mastermind? Is the War on Terror over? Are we Safer now?

Those are rhetorical questions. None of those things will happen. If anything, I can much more easily envision the reverse. Whenever America uses violence in a way that makes its citizens cheer, beam with nationalistic pride, and rally around their leader, more violence is typically guaranteed. Futile decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may temporarily dampen the nationalistic enthusiasm for war, but two shots to the head of Osama bin Laden — and the We are Great and Good proclamations it engenders — can easily rejuvenate that war love. One can already detect the stench of that in how Pakistan is being talked about: did they harbor bin Laden as it seems and, if so, what price should they pay? We’re feeling good and strong about ourselves again — and righteous — and that’s often the fertile ground for more, not less, aggression.

Posted by Brad @ 11:57 am on April 28th 2011

Quote of the Day II

On news of Katie Couric’s departure from CBS:

“Right. Yes, I think I read that in a newspaper, one of many newspapers that I read.”

—Sarah Palin

Heh. Point, Palin.

Posted by Brad @ 10:57 am on April 28th 2011

Quote of the Day

We hear a lot about that evil Congress holding the government hostage to force the hand of the President. But let’s also remember that one of the biggest drivers for the implosion of the concept of civil liberties in America today is, in fact, a legislative branch that is less recalcitrant than in its entire history, and certainly less than the system was designed to not only accommodate, but to encourage.

“The three branches have been battling one another throughout our history. It’s like rock paper scissors. And it’s sort of like the scissors have decided they don’t want to play anymore.”

—Michael W. Macleod-Ball, Chief of Staff of the ACLU, D.C. Office, in an interview with Conor Friedersdorf

Posted by Brad @ 4:45 pm on April 20th 2011

Quote of the Day II

On the non-existent WikiLeaks Pultizer:

“The power and punch of Wikileaks was not the curated massive doc dump the NYT did. It’s the constant reference to a Wikileaks nugget in countless news stories since, especially in the Arab Spring. We simply understand the world – in all its hypocrisy, double standards and ugliness – more profoundly than we did pre-Assange. And we can better assess the real world trade-offs that our political masters would prefer to understand and make in seclusion.”

Andrew Sullivan

Posted by Brad @ 11:39 am on April 20th 2011

Quote of the Day

“Imagine how the brain functions in a person who spends years and years flattering people and trolling for money in order to get to the Senate, then arrives and, after surveying all of America’s problems, decides they’re going to focus on stopping adults from viewing pornography and playing poker online.”

Glenn Greenwald

And that’s really all I have to say about that (not the case for Glenn though – he continues throwing around zingers in that post).

Posted by Brad @ 4:35 pm on April 12th 2011

Quote of the Day

“This can’t be said often enough. Involving politics in industry is a surefire way to involve money in politics. The more that government seeks to influence the economy, the more that individuals with means will seek to influence the government. This often leads progressives to push for better regulators on one hand and tighter controls on the other. Taxes become tools to alter behavior rather than raise operating revenue. Industries become regulated to the point that they are quasi-public utilities. Public-private partnerships pile up, as do their costs; just this morning, the Obama administration announced it would spend a billion dollars on partnerships designed to reduce medical errors. It’s an endless feedback loop, in which progressive reformers are perpetually trying to fix the problems they helped create.”

Peter Suderman

Example: health care costs.

Posted by Brad @ 11:28 am on April 5th 2011

Quote of the Day

From Dahlia Lithwick, not one prone to hysterics, on Obama’s reversal on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Say what you want about how Congress forced Obama’s hand today by making it all but impossible to try the 9/11 conspirators in regular Article III courts. The only lesson learned is that Obama’s hand can be forced. That there is no principle he can’t be bullied into abandoning. In the future, when seeking to pass laws that treat different people differently for purely political reasons, Congress need only fear-monger and fabricate to get the president to cave. Nobody claims that this was a legal decision. It was a political triumph or loss, depending on your viewpoint. The rule of law is an afterthought, either way.

It may not matter to you today that the U.S. government has invented a new lass of criminals fit for a new class of trials. It may bother you a lot more when special rules are created for unions, or corporations, or the poor, or the children of illegal immigrants, or eco-terrorists. Today’s capitulation will just embolden Congress to do all that and more.

A year ago, Holder told the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer that the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would serve as “the defining event of my time as attorney general.” Sadly, he’s probably right.

Posted by Brad @ 10:40 am on April 4th 2011

Quote of the Day II

“If those who oppose violent invasions of other countries are considered ‘isolationists,’ is a person who refuses to break into his neighbor’s house to be regarded as ‘anti-social’?”

Butler Schaffer

Posted by Brad @ 9:46 am on April 4th 2011

Quote of the Day

“Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war.”

Senator Lindsey Graham

Posted by Brad @ 1:40 pm on March 31st 2011

Quote of the Day II

“And Michelle Bachmann, I don’t know if she’s here. She’s probably not – she’s campaigning Iowa and organizing in that important caucus state because she’s running for president. [beat] That’s really all I have for that joke.”

Anthony Weiner, Congressional Correspondents Dinner

Rand Paul is getting the press for his remarks at the Congressional Correspondents Dinner, which wasn’t funny so much as cuttingly truthful. But Anthony Weiner was the one who really killed.

Posted by Brad @ 1:32 pm on March 31st 2011

Quote of the Day

“[Secretary of State Clinton’s statement on the irrelevancy of the War Powers Act] is an outrageous statement, but it’s entirely consistent with what the administration has been illegally doing for the last 12 days. They seem to believe quite seriously that, as long as they don’t call it a war, it doesn’t fall under any laws regulating war powers or the Constitution. The sliver of good news in all of this is that Obama and his officials are showing such contempt for American law and institutions that they are exposing themselves to a serious political backlash. War supporters won’t be able to hide behind the conceit that the war is legal. As far as U.S. law is concerned, it has never been legal, and only people making the most maximalist claims of inherent executive power can believe otherwise. Anyone who continues to support the war from this point on will be revealed as being either a blind Obama loyalist, an ideological liberal interventionist, or a devotee of the cult of the Presidency.”

Daniel Larison, The American Conservative

Note too the implicit distinction here, btw. Larison is not speaking at all to the ultimate wisdom of intervention in the case of Libya. It can be either an objectively positive action, or an objectively negative one, and either way is irrelevant to his argument here.

Posted by Brad @ 1:02 pm on March 28th 2011

Quote of the Day

“I was on This Week with Jake Tapper on ABC yesterday morning, and George Will noted, correctly, that so far, our strategy [in Libya] seems to be: Create a vacuum, and hope that something good fills it.”

Jeffrey Goldberg

What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by Brad @ 11:27 am on March 18th 2011

Quote of the Day

[My view] is that Obama has played the same role with respect to the National Surveillance State that Eisenhower played with respect to the New Deal and the administrative state, and Nixon played with respect to the Great Society and the welfare state. Each President established a bi-partisan consensus and gave bi-partisan legitimation to certain features of national state building.

After the Obama presidency, opponents of a vigorous national surveillance state will be outliers in American politics; they will have no home in either major political party. Their views will be, to use one of my favorite theoretical terms, ‘off the wall.'”

Posted by Brad @ 11:08 am on March 9th 2011

Quote of the Day

“As always, the most harmful aspect of the Obama legacy is that he has converted what were once controversial right-wing Bush policies into unchallenged bipartisan consensus, to endure indefinitely and without any opposition from either party.”

—Glenn Greenwald

If you want to understand what he’s saying, here’s a piece that gets at it from Alex Knapp. It’s called “Mainstreaming Brutality”.

Posted by Brad @ 1:20 pm on March 1st 2011

Quote of the Day

Making its rounds today, a decidedly liberal take on the situation in Wisconsin, though not without its humor or merit.

A public union employee, a tea party activist and a CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies in the middle of it. The CEO takes 11 of the cookies, turns to the tea partier and says, “Watch out for that union guy he wants a piece of your cookie.”

Posted by Brad @ 3:59 pm on February 22nd 2011

Quote of the Day

“Qaddafi says he will die at the end of the struggle.

Does that mean the government and the protestors are moving toward a consensus on a path forward?”

Josh Marshall

Posted by Brad @ 2:24 pm on February 14th 2011

Quote of the Day II

“I don’t think anyone should ever be allowed to just come into your house and just beat the crap out of you.”

19-year-old Rutgers student Jake Kostman, after his off-campus apartment was raided by police in the dead of night on suspicion of drug possession. Kostman and his roommate – who were not arrested and who have had no charges filed against them – were severely beaten.

Posted by Brad @ 12:43 pm on February 14th 2011

Quote of the Day

“Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of rich countries and giving it to the rich people of poor countries.”

—Ron Paul, in his CPAC speech this weekend.

Posted by Brad @ 11:49 am on January 20th 2011

Quote of the Day

David Kramer, summing up why liberals mystify me too, in discussing a dual interview with both Ron Paul and Ralph Nader.

Listen to the terrific answer Ron Paul gives about why he doesn’t want the government providing universal health care. As per Ralph Nader on this particular issue, it always amazes me how people always think government is a corrupt, inefficient provider of something that they don’t like (wars, in Ralph’s case), but somehow magically transforms itself into an efficient, moral, economically sound organization when it is going to provide something they do want (health care). They don’t understand that it’s the nature of the beast—a forced monopoly of force—that will always tend toward mediocrity because it doesn’t have to compete with anyone else to see if it needs to improve itself (in terms of the quality of its services or the price its charging for its services) and because it doesn’t have to answer to the demands of its “customers” (i.e., citizens) because it can forcibly demand payment from them (i.e., taxation) whether they like the service it is providing or not. Government, unlike the “evil” (at least in Ralph’s view) voluntary private sector, can do whatever the heck it wants to do because it is a forced monopoly with guns.

And of course, just transpose health care and war there and you have why Republicans mystify me too.

Posted by Brad @ 11:19 am on January 11th 2011

Quote of the Day

“Of course, gajillions both in media and at parties were quick to blame Palin-esque anti-Democratic Party politician rhetoric for directly inspiring Loughner’s crime. We know for a certainty now that whatever ‘influenced’ Loughner, it wasn’t that.

And stressing that b.s. point isn’t harmless rhetoric either—because attempts to quell political speech are far more popular and far more frequent than attempts to shoot up crowds.”

Brian Doherty, in a great takedown of The New Yorker’s quick reaxs to the Tuscon murders.

Posted by Brad @ 1:10 pm on January 5th 2011

Quote of the Day

If you’ll allow it, a poignant little point apropos of nothing, from Terry Teachout, on cheerful misanthropy, or perhaps idealistic cynicism (or would that be cynical idealism?).

I take a dark view of many, perhaps most things, but I try very hard to live life with a smile. Somewhere or other Joseph Epstein wrote that H.L. Mencken’s lifelong pessimism never stopped him from getting a good dinner, which seems to me exactly the right attitude toward the world and its myriad woes. I know that they exist, but I also know that I am a lucky man, and so long as my luck holds, I hope never to do it the injustice of ingratitude.

H/T: Ed Brayton

Posted by Brad @ 1:40 pm on January 3rd 2011

Quote of the Day

“[Julian Assange is a bad journalist] because he didn’t care at all about attempting to verify the information that he was putting out or determine whether or not it would hurt anyone.”

Judith Miller, journalist for Newsmax.

Posted by Brad @ 11:01 am on December 20th 2010

A Simple, Profoun Quote of the Day

As usual, from Glenn Greenwald, who sees the line between our Surveillance State, in which we increasingly accept that the government may at any time tap and store any of our communications and if you’re not guilty you have nothing to hide, and the WikiLeaks drama, in which anything that lifts one iota of the veil that the government puts over everything it does, is a vital threat.

“This is all supposed to be the other way around: It’s government officials who are supposed to operate out in the open, while ordinary citizens are entitled to privacy. Yet we’ve reversed that dynamic almost completely.”

Posted by Brad @ 11:52 am on December 9th 2010

Quote of the Day

As much as I hope Christine O’Donnell goes quietly into the night, I can’t resist giving her brief airtime for this gem:

“Tragedy comes in threes. Pearl Harbor, Elizabeth Edwards’s passing and Barack Obama’s announcement of extending the tax cuts, which is good, but also extending the unemployment benefits.”

Bonus: when asked, immediately following her remarks, if it was appropriate to compare the extension of unemployment benefits, as a tragedy, to Pearl Harbor and the death of Elizabeth Edwards, O’Donnell replied “that’s not what I meant at all”.

N.B. I am willing to give her a pass on Pearl Harbor, even though, if tragedies do come in threes, there was technically a 69 year lag between tragedies 1 and 2 there, and in that 69 years there were an awful lot of tragedies that probably rank above the death of Elizabeth Edwards and the extension of unemployment benefits, but I guess you can’t rightly say “Tragedies come in 584,067,941s, and since Pearl Harbor, now with the extension of unemployment benefits today, we finally have our 584,067,941st tragedy”. Unless, in her opinion, those are the only three things she considers tragic within that 69 year time period, in which case, I’d say to Christine: 9/11: have you forgotten already? That makes bald eagles cry.

Unless she meant that the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor is, itself, the tragedy, which is kind of weird, but I didn’t actually attend any anniversary ceremonies, and they may have all been complete clusterfucks for all I know but geez, Christine, give them a break – organizers are probably just warming up for the 70th next year.

Posted by Brad @ 10:21 am on November 29th 2010

Quote of the Day

I may have more thoughts later; for now, John Cole’s reaction will suffice:

“I generally sense that people, overall, will be more hostile towards wikileaks after this dump. The previous dumps seemed to corroborate competing stories. This dump will just be viewed by many as an attempt to hurt the United States. I have a hard time getting worked up about it- a government that views none of my personal correspondence as confidential really can’t bitch when this sort of thing happens.”

Greenwald, adding

“Note how quickly the ‘if-you’ve-done-nothing-wrong-then-you-have-nothing-to-hide’ mentality disappears when it’s their privacy and communications being invaded rather than yours.”

Both are cheap shots, since what we’re talking about here is the making public of private correspondence, but still.

Posted by Brad @ 4:58 pm on November 22nd 2010

Quote of the Day: Nobody Reads Retractions Edition

Al Gore, who let’s remember cast a tie-breaking Senate vote on a bill mandating that ethanol be gifted a government-forced share of the gasoline additives market, on why he was such a fan of ethanol subsidies:

“It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol,” said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.

“First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.

“It’s hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going.”

He explained his own support for the original programme on his presidential ambitions.

“One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.”

These subsidies, which have produced almost no benefits to anyone but the direct recipients of the federal largess, cost 7.7 billion dollars last year.

Two words for Mr. Gore: Fuck. You.

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