Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘wonks

Wednesday, Oh, Wednesday

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* There’s nothing inherently fascist in Žižek’s call for an elite cadre of benevolent dictators to rule us like kings. Why, it says so right there in black and white:

There is absolutely nothing inherently ”Fascist” in these lines – the supreme paradox of the political dynamics is that a Master is needed to pull individuals out of the quagmire of their inertia and motivate them towards self-transcending emancipatory struggle for freedom.

* Peter Frase on the perils of wonkery. And then there’s Kotsko’s take:

The NCAA’s Perfectly Fair Rules.

* Despite three generation of survivalist horror in mass media, “Sociologists have shown that people tend to behave very admirably under the pressure of a disaster; panic and anti-social behavior are fairly rare.”

* How student debt (and of course the larger economic collapse) is messing with the larger consumer economy.

“Public higher education, which educates 70 percent of students in the United States, is about to cross a historic threshold,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “For the first time ever, students will pay a higher percentage of the operating costs… than state governments.”

But the system of federal financial aid is constructed in such a way that putting together strict “maintenance of effort” requirements — requiring states to keep funding public higher education in order to receive federal dollars — is difficult because states receive relatively little money for higher education from the federal government. As a result, previous maintenance of effort requirements have been “nibbling at the edges,” Madzelan said.

* Who is promoting Alex Jones?

The Gold Collapse Is Personally Costing Ron Paul A Fortune.

* And the headline reads, “New Hampshire Lawmaker Calls All Women ‘Vaginas.’” I mean really.

Wonks v. Kill-Billers

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Nate Silver offers an olive branch in the wonk-versus-activist civil war over the health care bill. But it’s not all olive branches:

…it does seem that one of the most significant potential upsides to passing the bill — motivating the base — may now be significantly muted.

I mostly don’t blame the kill billers for that either, nor do I expect them to cheerlead for a policy that leaves them feeling dissatisfied. But to the extent that some of the opposition on the left has been based on (i) an unrealistic read of the political environment, or (ii) an ill-considered (IMO) desire to use health care as a pawn in a somewhat amorphous long-run power struggle, or (iii) a principally emotional reaction to the intrinsically and inevitably ugly mechanics of compromise — I do assign them some of the blame for this portion of the political fallout.

For what it’s worth I think much of this political damage will turn out to be fairly transitory; I’m still expecting a significant bump in Democratic approval (especially for Obama) as soon as the bill is signed (i.e., as soon as he proves he can get results). Don’t forget the myriad benefits of this historic health care reform—a feat never accomplished in a century of attempts &c. &c.—will be the centerpiece of his second State of the Union; by the time he’s finished talking he’ll look like FDR.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 19, 2009 at 3:30 pm