Tag Archives: George Will

Lifted – in its entirety – from Krugman’s blog

Transport Madness

Oh, boy — this is truly amazing. I guess I’m not surprised that the WSJ doesn’t like the idea of providing New York with a European-style system of rental bikes. But accusing Bloomberg and company of being “totalitarians” for the vicious crime of … making bright blue bikes available to tourists … seems like it has to be parody.

On the other hand, let’s not forget George Will’s explanation of why liberals like mass transit:

the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.

Something about transportation seems to bring out the crazy in these people.

(The post, comments and all, is here.)

Pet peeve: George Will resurects an old fake favorite

Count on George Will to build an entire column on a cheap half truth. I used to enjoy his columns but in recent years he’s turned bitter. And careless of how he used language and history. He’s got his underwear in a know again.

A few years back, according to the GOP punditocracy, Obama’s chief of staff spoke terrifying words! He said “we should never waste a crisis”. This of course, meant the sheets had to be pulled off the fainting couches yet again.

Crisi-tunity.pngNot only was his comment not new, it has been the conventional wisdom for hundred of years; the Chinese use the same character for ‘crisis’ and ‘opportunity’.  Seen below “the use has been adopted by business leaders and motivational speakers’. Because it’s true.

Benjamin Zimmer has traced the history of weiji in English as far back as anonymous editorial in a journal[2] for missionaries in China.[3] The use of the term probably gained momentum when John F. Kennedy delivered a speech in Indianapolis on April 12, 1959:[3]

When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed of two characters.
One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.[4]

Kennedy employed this trope routinely in his speeches, and it was then appropriated by Richard M. Nixon and others. The usage has been adopted by business consultants and motivational speakers and has gained great popularity in universities and in the popular press. For example, in 2007, Condoleezza Rice used the meme during Middle East peace talks,[5] and Al Gore did so both in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee,[6] and in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance lecture.[7]

George Will is most egregious and he sends his Christmas cards by FedEx

George Will doesn’t like the post office. He thinks it’s not needed; he even says:

. . . surely the government could cede this function to the private sector , which probably could have a satisfactory system functioning quicker than you can say Fed Ex, UPS and Wal-Mart.

He sees the first two as delivery vehicles; Wal-Mart would become the physical post office. Very convenient for places that don’t have a Wal-Mart.

He adds that the staff at those places “have an incentive to practice civility”. George has never met my carrier or been to my post office, where there are actual humans available to answer customer questions, something they do well and knowledgeably. A good for-profit would dump those helpers in a heartbeat (hmmm, how many jobs would that be?).

But he really gets the disingenuous prize for this shockingly dishonest bit:

Labor costs are 80 percent of USPS costs (53% of UPS’, 32% of FedEx’s), in part because it has negotiated very friendly union contracts.

Leave aside for the moment the usual we-don’t-need-no-stinkin-unions mantra – I’ll wager he left a little something out of that equation, like this: I’ve not noticed tens of thousands of UPS or FedEx employees walking  or driving every inch of residential property in the country every day.

And what would happen to the direct mail industry if FedEx had to hit every house in my neighborhood. No mention – including it would be quite inconvenient when bashing is the point.

There’s a serious discussion to be had about how to streamline the post office. But we’ll leave Will out of that discussion; he’s not interested in being serious.

Clusterfuck Nation*

Meet James Howard Kunstler, non-partisan, equal opportunity curmudgeon who writes and lectures on subjects I find interesting – urbanism, energy, social pathologies, economics (intelligible for the rest of us) and the general stupidness he sees around him. 

In addition,  he’s a painter, a gardener and a long distance bike rider (all the things I wish I were!). He posts every Monday at his website *Clusterfuck Nation. I love the guy.

 Here are some outtakes from recent posts (unlinked, sorry).

ON  MEDIA FAILURE:

We’ve never had more media outlets in the history of this land, or been more poorly informed. Mental fossil George Will fired off a salvo last week against fixing the US railroads. He thinks it’s just a sinister ploy to snatch the people’s “individualism.” Perhaps George hasn’t noticed that other things are operating out there in the polity-space to turn the folks of this land into zombies. After all, they were long ago Continue reading

And the beat goes on . . . .

The broadsheets, the broadcasts and even the intertubes are awash, verily spilling over the inkwells, with stuff. There is much stuff.

There are elections, revolutions, revelations, and retorts of all sorts. There are floods and tsunamis and earthquakes and blizzards. Crops are flourishing, crops are devastated. Children iz learning. Or they izn’t. Spring is coming! Winter will never end! Movies are better than ever; there is nothing on television and Charlie Sheehan is still crazy.

In pundit-land, America’s favorite grumpy old racist granddad, Pat Buchanan, just said of Wisconsin “Walker may have won in the short term, but in the long run . . . . ”  I later heard the young ‘reporters’ on CNN struggle to ‘report’ on the pending tsunami in Hawaii. They look at the earthquake in Japan and tsunami in the Pacific Rim and wonder what is Obama doing. (Grandpa Pat, by the way, is right. Republicans are not going to enjoy the ‘look in the mirror moment’ Walker has unleashed. If we have a shred of decency left though, America will.)

On the “common sense is breaking out!” front, two columns stood out for me yesterday. George Will asked the essential questions about America’s unholy interest in Middle East wars and Gail Collins turned her eye (and I avert mine) to my own interesting State (we are producing Jon-Stewart-level comedy daily).

Will’s questions are for Republicans who would intervene – even at the ‘no fly zone’ level –  in Libya. Among them (my partial summary):

  • Is Libya a vital US interest? A month ago it wasn’t.
  • Have we forgotten that the worse European atrocity since WWII (Bosnia) occurred under a non f ly zone.
  • If Gaddafi hits a US aircraft or captures a US pilot, are we ready for that?
  • If we decide to give war supplies to the rebels, how do we get them there? Oh, and who are they?
  • Libya is tribal. What makes us think we understand or can deal with that (see Afghanistan, 2001 to 2011).
  • Mission creep?
  • If the UN says ‘no’, do we go ahead anyway? And then?
  • Do we want military engagement in three Muslim countries?

Good questions.

Gail Collins turns the spotlight on Florida:

“A state representative has introduced a bill that would impose fines of up to $5 million on any doctor who asks a patient whether he or she owns a gun. This is certainly a new and interesting concept, but I don’t think we can classify it as a response to Tucson. Jason Brodeur, the Republican who thought it up, says it’s a response to the health care reform act.”

We elect these people (see Scott, Rick, subject of largest fine for criminal fraud ever imposed by the United States. We elected him governor). Although the bill will go nowhere, I’m embarrassed.

s’ok George, it was a long time ago

America, its luck exhausted, at last has a president from the academic culture.

So sayeth George Will today.

The column was about Palin. Credit to him for this:

” . . . today’s saturation journalism, mesmerized by presidential politics and ravenous for material, requires a steady stream of political novelties. In that role, Palin is united with the media in a relationship of mutual loathing.”

He got that right.