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Rumor has it

Adele:

Piano in the dark

Brenda Russell:

Happy

While driving home from the gym this afternoon, I saw a little boy, maybe five or six, skipping along the pavement. He looked so happy and not at all self-conscious.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a child skip. This made me happy.

Terra terra terra!

Oh noes! They might, theoretically, jokingly or otherwise, TALKED ABOUT BOMBING TIMES SQUARE!!

I hate security theater.

In case you didn’t know, last week, someone sent this crazy sorority letter (written by the local chapter president) around, and now actor Michael Shannon is performing it:

I was on the radio last night debunking the token liberal defending the chained CPI, and let me tell you, some people are really, really dumb. They’ve really bought into that whole “shared sacrifice” bullshit, which tells me a lot of people are really into masochism. From Talking Points Memo:

Last week, while the national media turned its attention to the events unfolding in Boston, the Congressional Budget Office released a report that under normal circumstances have received much more scrutiny.

And if House Republicans eventually relent and agree to return to the normal budget process, it will become relevant once again.

The report addressed and largely affirmed a key criticism of an inflation measure called Chained CPI, which among other things would reduce Social Security cost of living increases and kick people into higher income tax brackets, if adopted across the government.

The implicit finding: Chained CPI — which President Obama included as a compromise measure in his budget — will typically harm seniors more than the rest of the population.

Supporters of Chained CPI argue that, unlike the two main existing indexes the government uses, it incorporates the assumption that consumers will substitute cheaper goods for costlier ones when prices rise, counteracting the economic impact of inflation. Thus, they argue, Chained CPI provides a more accurate calculation of inflation, and the ones the government currently uses to index benefits and tax brackets are too generous.
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Amoral Matty

I probably would have just written “Matt Yglesias: Dalton, Harvard. I rest my case.” But Mr. Destructo’s is so much better:

Matthew Yglesias—a Norelco marketing experiment to see if a hand-drawn Sharpie beard on a peeled potato could sell men’s earrings—wrote a morally and intellectually odious article at his second job yesterday. His Slate column, “Different Places Have Different Safety Rules and That’s OK,” addressed the deaths of 161 workers in a factory collapse in Bangladesh with the tone they so richly deserved: bored.

Writing off the death of 161 people with 370 words of vacuous unconcern requires the machine-like efficiency we’ve come to expect from places where pre-teens assemble Air Jordans. Yglesias’ thesis, what little exists, is that the Bangladeshis are a people squalid enough that death is an acceptable randomly applied career path, and that dead Bangladeshis are what keep flat-front chinos at $29.99 at the outlet store. Our pants are cheap because their lives are, and cheaper things are innately good. Just think how much Upton Sinclair saved on hamburger as a young man. What an ingrate.

At best, one could chalk Yglesias’ attitude up to the neoliberal worship of free trade, but ascribing any ideology to Yglesias is like trying to pin a Bad Citizenship medal on fog. He differs sharply from his Slate colleague Dave Weigel, who takes pains to acknowledge his affiliation with Koch-owned Reason. While Weigel seems like an affable guy who delights in mocking the ridiculous—and, with the GOP the party that forgot math, science and history, he finds common cause with the left—it’s clear that liberals probably would not enjoy handing the budget over to him. This is how honest compromises are struck.

Yglesias offers nothing so concrete. He is a process acolyte, who never strays far from the orbit of Beltway centrist think-speak. His ideological bona fides extend to thinking that slightly-left people saying things identical to everyone else are slightly better than everyone else—all of whom are essentially right anyway, because why else would people agree? Ideas are less important than the formalism of tautologically explaining them, reiterating them, then deforming reality to accommodate them. His job is not to challenge them but hammer out a 500-word explainer detailing how wrong you are, while reassuring you that we’re on the right track. Matthew Yglesias’ voice is the same soothing one you use on your dog while the vet is euthanizing him.

Go read the rest. It’s really something.

To the back of the bus

American women novelists.

Amoral Matt

Mr. Destructo says it so much better than I could:

Matthew Yglesias—a Norelco marketing experiment to see if a hand-drawn Sharpie beard on a peeled potato could sell men’s earrings—wrote a morally and intellectually odious article at his second job yesterday. His Slate column, “Different Places Have Different Safety Rules and That’s OK,” addressed the deaths of 161 workers in a factory collapse in Bangladesh with the tone they so richly deserved: bored.

Writing off the death of 161 people with 370 words of vacuous unconcern requires the machine-like efficiency we’ve come to expect from places where pre-teens assemble Air Jordans. Yglesias’ thesis, what little exists, is that the Bangladeshis are a people squalid enough that death is an acceptable randomly applied career path, and that dead Bangladeshis are what keep flat-front chinos at $29.99 at the outlet store. Our pants are cheap because their lives are, and cheaper things are innately good. Just think how much Upton Sinclair saved on hamburger as a young man. What an ingrate.

At best, one could chalk Yglesias’ attitude up to the neoliberal worship of free trade, but ascribing any ideology to Yglesias is like trying to pin a Bad Citizenship medal on fog. He differs sharply from his Slate colleague Dave Weigel, who takes pains to acknowledge his affiliation with Koch-owned Reason. While Weigel seems like an affable guy who delights in mocking the ridiculous—and, with the GOP the party that forgot math, science and history, he finds common cause with the left—it’s clear that liberals probably would not enjoy handing the budget over to him. This is how honest compromises are struck.

Yglesias offers nothing so concrete. He is a process acolyte, who never strays far from the orbit of Beltway centrist think-speak. His ideological bona fides extend to thinking that slightly-left people saying things identical to everyone else are slightly better than everyone else—all of whom are essentially right anyway, because why else would people agree? Ideas are less important than the formalism of tautologically explaining them, reiterating them, then deforming reality to accommodate them. His job is not to challenge them but hammer out a 500-word explainer detailing how wrong you are, while reassuring you that we’re on the right track. Matthew Yglesias’ voice is the same soothing one you use on your dog while the vet is euthanizing him.

The world is a battlefield


Amy Goodman:

As the Senate holds its first-ever public hearing on drones and targeted killings, we turn the second part of our interview with Jeremy Scahill, author of the new book, “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield.” Scahill charts the expanding covert wars operated by the CIA and JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command, in countries from Somalia to Pakistan.

“I called it ‘Dirty Wars’ because, particularly in this administration, in the Obama administration, I think a lot of people are being led to believe that there is such a thing as a clean war,” Scahill says. He goes on to discuss secret operations in Africa, the targeting of U.S. citizens in Yemen and the key role WikiLeaks played in researching the book.

He also reveals imprisoned whistleblower Bradley Manning once tipped him off to a story about the private security company Blackwater.

Scahill is the national security correspondent for The Nation magazine and longtime Democracy Now! correspondent. For the past several years, Scahill has been working on the “Dirty Wars” film and book project, which was published on Tuesday. The film, directed by Rick Rowley, will be released in theaters in June.

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