Monthly Archives: July 2012

“Speaking Fluent Terrarium”

Some time back, someone invented a game the object of which was to write a blog post that used a phrase unique to Google. If I recall, you got the most points for a single word, then for two common words together, then for three in a unique order, and so on. Ironically, I have no recollection of who invented it, or where it appeared, or even what search terms to use to find it, which is why I can’t link to it now. (If it wasn’t Making Light, it probably should have been.)

All this is by preface to today’s Google-unique mix of three words which appear in a Crooks & Liars takedown of a NYT op-ed, Bill Keller has a sad over Social Security, Medicare: “speaking fluent terrarium”.

Yup, that’s a new one alright.

Posted in Blogs | 1 Comment

Romney Starts Another Painful Week (Updated)

Good thing for Romney that nobody reads Newsweek any more. The article isn’t available online (yet?), but I have to say judging just from the cover it looks like a cheap shot. In any case, I’d have said the problem was arrogance, not insecurity.

(Just to make things worse, my son, seeing this cover’s top tagline said, “I knew Romney was a job killer, but I didn’t realize he was a mass murderer.”)

Meanwhile, Romneyshambles Continues in Israel (per Kevin Drum).

Update (7/30): Here’s a taste of the article:

The Sun even went so far as to dub him “Mitt the Twit.”

It was an astonishing faux pas—one of many packed into his brief visit. And it makes one wonder: if elected, Romney is going to have to work hand-in-glove with Prime Minister David Cameron and other world leaders on the ongoing global financial crisis and other issues. What unintended offenses are going to tumble out of his mouth then, when he’s representing our nation on the world stage?

The episode highlights what’s really wrong with Romney. He’s kind of lame, and he’s really … annoying. He keeps saying these … things, these incredibly off-key things. Then he apologizes immediately—with all the sincerity of a hostage. Or maybe he doesn’t: sometimes he whines about the subsequent attacks on him. But the one thing he never does? Man up, double down, take his lumps.

In 1987, this magazine created a famous hubbub by labeling George H.W. Bush a “wimp” on its cover. “The Wimp Factor.” Huge stir. And not entirely fair—the guy had been an aviator in the war, the big war, the good war, and he was even shot down out over the Pacific, cockpit drenched in smoke and fumes, at an age (20) when in most states he couldn’t even legally drink a beer. In hindsight, Poppy looks like Dirty Harry Callahan compared with Romney, who spent his war (Vietnam) in—ready?—Paris. Where he learned … French. Up to his eyeballs in deferments. Where Reagan saddled up a horse with the masculine name of El Alamein, Mitt saddles up something called Rafalca—except that he doesn’t even really do that, his wife does (dressage). And speaking of Ann—did you notice that she was the one driving the Jet Ski on their recent vacation, while Mitt rode on the back, hanging on, as Paul Begala put it to me last week, “like a helpless papoose”?

Posted in 2012 Election | Leave a comment

Romney Lights Small Fire Under Bridge With Media (Updated)

Romney’s campaign announced Saturday that it would block the news media from covering the event, which will be held at the King David Hotel. The campaign’s decision to close the fundraiser to the press violates the ground rules it negotiated with news organizations in April, when Romney wrapped up the Republican nomination and began opening some of his finance events to the news media.

Under the agreement, a pool of wire, print and television reporters can cover every Romney fundraiser held in public venues, including hotels and country clubs. The campaign does not allow media coverage of fundraisers held in private residences.

Romney has a history of delivering different messages to his donors when reporters are not present to hear them. At a closed-press fundraiser in Florida this spring, reporters from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, without Romney’s knowledge, overheard the candidate outline new tax policy proposals and suggest that he might dramatically downsize the Department of Education and eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

– The Washington Post, Romney bans media from Jerusalem fundraiser, violating pre-established protocol.

If he keeps this up, the press could turn on him. After all, this is the in-the-tank Washington Post and they’re suggesting he’s two-faced.

UPDATE (7/29): They caved: Romney campaign changes mind, allows press into fund-raiser. Bad move– now the press are going to say Romney’s weak. Cf. Romney Starts Another Painful Week.

Posted in 2012 Election, The Media | 1 Comment

Someone Is Having a Bad Day

Unqualified Offerings, Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be responsible:

It occurs to me that most of my frustration in life is a product of actually believing my mother and grandparents and teachers. They usually said something about how we need to work hard and be responsible and be on top of deadlines because when we’re older people will expect that from us. Well, what are the things that cause me the greatest aggravation, the things that get me ranting? Chiefly, I get aggravated over the fact that lazier people make more money than me and the fact that companies expect payment from me on time but generally dick around and screw up and take their good-natured time on actually doing whatever it is they’re supposed to do in exchange for that payment.

If I had ignored my mother and grandparents and teachers, I’d be a happier person.

Another vote for the pig over Socrates.

Posted in Etc | 1 Comment

Maybe Poland Will Be OK

Fresh from Romney’s gaffe-fest in London, we find Team Romney messed up his trip to Israel:

Mitt Romney is making a big push for the Jewish vote. In classic Romney (i.e., clueless) form, his campaign scheduled a trip to Israel on the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av.

Tisha B’Av, which primarily commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples, both of which were destroyed on the ninth of Av, is probably the most important event on the Jewish Calendar that most non-Jews don’t know about. Purim they’ve heard of, at least vaguely.

(Creating a field day for numerologists, the Ninth of Av was also the day that the Jews were required to leave Spain in 1492.)

Posted in 2012 Election | 1 Comment

US Academic-speak Translated for a UK Audience

The U.K. Graduate Student’s Guide to Interpreting Feedback from American Faculty — Kieran Healy (Duke), via Leiter.

Posted in Communications, UK | Leave a comment

In These Desperate Times

Credit: John Aravoisis

Posted in Civil Liberties | 5 Comments