URLs du Jour


  • Shanghai Acrobatic Show Hugh Hewitt prepares you for the debate by listing a number of President Obama's "poker tells" that should inform the attentive listener that the verbiage in progress will be deficient in truth-content. For example:

    … watch for the parade of straw men, the president's favorite rhetorical trick. He will set up arguments that have never been made in the service of Republican goals that have never existed, and then he will denounce both. If the appearance of a straw man serves as a trigger in a drinking game, many bottles will empty by the end of Debate No. 1.

    Pun Salad has, in the past, done something similar with "Barackrobatics", reliable signals that the President was about to utter something reality-challenged. A small sample, with links to past articles:


    As in: "this legislation is fully paid for and will not add one single dime to our deficit."

    "Let me be clear."

    What follows will not be clear.

    "In the right direction."

    As in "I am extraordinarily confident that we're moving in the right direction." The President used to say this at least once a month, but has cut way back. People were beginning to giggle.

    "From Day One."

    As in "we've been at work on this crisis since Day One".

    Downside: more recently, it's been used in sentences like: "the Administration knew from Day One that the Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism and lied about it."

    As Steve Macdonald of Granite Grok pointed out, actually happens on Day One of a crisis in the Obama Administration is: "How can we blame blame Bush or Republicans, and if not them who?"

    "False choice."

    Closely related to Hewitt's strawman.

    It can be a false choice between two bad things, as in: "We need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy. That is a false choice that will not serve our people or any people."

    Or it can be a false choice between two good things, as in "As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

    Either way, Obama will claim to have a scheme to avoid making such "false" choices.

    Spot the ellipsis.

    The President has a habit of leaving out inconvenient words that might irk some of his supporters. As in "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

  • On the higher education front:

    Michigan State University said it will offer counseling for students after a professor in the Engineering Building began shouting in a hallway, and, according to some social media reports, removed his clothing.

    Since this was allegedly a math prof: the intersection of the sets

    (professors who might do that)


    (professors you'd like to see do that)

    is null.

  • The student newspaper of the University Near Here has a news article about the upcoming speech by some guy who lied under oath.

    This Wednesday, Oct. 3, the UNH campus will be visited by former president Bill Clinton as part of his campaign tour stumping for President Barack Obama.

    The grassroots event, […]

    I stopped reading right there, as the article at first seemed to be written in English, but instead was in an unfamiliar language where "grassroots" has a totally different meaning.

  • Pet peeve: having to click, click, click in order to read an entire story at a website. It's a peeve for me, but for Farhad Manjoo it's a crusade:

    Pagination is one of the worst design and usability sins on the Web, the kind of obvious no-no that should have gone out with blinky text, dancing cat animations, and autoplaying music. It shows constant, quiet contempt for people who should be any news site’s highest priority—folks who want to read articles all the way to the end.

    Manjoo writes with tongue (slightly) in cheek, but he's pretty much right.

How to Fix Everything in America Forever

[Amazon Link] The proprietor of the wonderful website IMAO has written another book, available for the low, low price of (as I type) $4.74 for Amazon's Kindle. Just click on the book jacket over there, and do what Amazon tells you. Pick up a Kindle while you're there, if necessary. (Pick up another Kindle if not necessary. I get a cut.)

Frank's subtitle is "The Plan to Keep America Awesome", and he's not exaggerating. Just a few recommendations, picked at random:

  • Forget going for "a shining city on a hill." While that was OK for Reagan, Frank's overall goal: an America so awesome that foreigners should "scream in pain if they dare to gaze upon it."

  • The president should not be elected, but picked from experienced past presidents of smaller countries, kind of like NFL quarterbacks are picked from the college ranks. Then: "Hide him away in a bunker somewhere and tell him to keep an eye on other countries and leave us alone."

  • Pain collars on legislators. That's such an obviously good idea it needs no explanation.

  • A special holiday every four years: Regime Change Day. "Americans will pick one evil dictator to overthrow. Whomever we like the least. He'll be awakened by loudspeakers announcing, "Happy Regime Change Day!" followed by explosions."

  • Stop coddling the kids. For example, teach them all kung fu. Why? "We could have a generation that if suddenly attacked by ninjas, would just sink into a fighting stance, ready to do battle. That's a group of kids no one is going to mess with. We want the next generation not to shrink from challenges but instead be ready to roundhouse-kick them in the face."

  • Put scientists to work on new weapon systems. Specifically: genetically-resurrected dinosaurs with rocket launchers mounted on their backs. Another obviously good idea.

  • A simple reform for homeland security: whoever spots the most terrorists gets a free hat.

  • Punch your inner hippie.

It's short, because Frank doesn't feel the need to screw around with the usual political book fripperies, such as: considering what others have said on the issue under discussion; gathering supporting evidence for one's assertions; dealing with possible objections; showing that one's proposals are feasible in the real world. Stuff like that. Who cares?

It's consistently amusing. Consumer note: If I had to do it over again, I'd read it slower, probably only a chapter per day. For the same reason that I don't eat a dozen Krispy Kremes in one sitting: the twelfth one isn't quite as satisfying.

Last Modified 2017-12-02 5:38 AM EST