Monthly Archives: November 2016

Medicare at Risk

medicare003Is Paul Ryan’s Dream of Gutting Medicare About to Come True?

The Donald Trump transition website states that the administration will “modernize Medicare”—a euphemism, according to Jonathan Cohn and Jeffrey Young at the Huffington Post, that corresponds exactly to what Ryan has in mind.

I wonder how the maker of that sign is going to feel?

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Epigram For a Life

“A devious man, but when cornered a patriot.”  That was Henry Kissinger’s assessment of Melivin Laird, who died today, at least as recorded by William Safire in his book Before the Fall.

For some reason, that line always stuck with me.

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Allegedly, listening to this song “was clinically proven to reduce stress levels up to 65% in the people who listened to it.” Here’s the official video verion:

Personally I’d prefer something with a hammock (and no mosquitoes):


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Popovich Unleashes on Trump

Greg Popovich is famous as the basketball coach who doesn’t give interviews, or gives one-word answers to silly questions.  Although my favorite had three words — his reply during a game in the Finals when he was asked for his second-half plan and he said “Score more points.”

Well, he can sure talk when he wants to, as captured in this article in the – San Antonio Express-News, Gregg Popovich uncensored: Full transcript of thoughts on Donald Trump.

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Remembering Rudy

Rumor is that Rudy Giuliani has a good chance of becoming the next Attorney General thanks to his deranged TV performances on behalf of the Trump campaign. That means it’s time to dust off the memory cabinet, and point readers to Rudy Giuliani’s Ferret Freak-Out. The guy really hates ferrets, although I hasten to add that this alone is not disqualifying. No, the real problem is that it isn’t the only way he’s scary crazy and has been for some time.

And, by the way, Giuliani still sounds better than the other name being floated – Chris Christie. At least with Giuliani the odds that he will be indicted in the next year seem remote.

PS. Oliver Willis’s web site, which hosts the ferret freakout audio, seems to be the victim of a DOS attack in which someone has persuaded various filtering businesses — including the one forced on us in violation of academic freedom/access to information principles at my University — to label it as having malware. I’ve complained.

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Attitude Adjustment

I’m some varying combination of sad and horrified at the election results.

At present I have only one vaguely productive thing to say: if the best account people can come up with is that maybe Trump is such a pathological liar, or has so few fixed ideas and principles, that the administration will begin a reboot, jettisoning everything it ran on, then we are totally screwed.

Because that’s just stupid.

Slightly less implausible is the theory that the Czar is to be surrounded by advisors drawn from the right fringe of the GOP establishment, and that they will enact most of their fevered dream policies. I suppose that is possible, but substantial parts of that agenda would be a monumental and visible sellout of the hope-starved groups who elected Trump in the first place. It won’t look good in four years. While there will likely be some of that, particularly in the less visible ways (tax credits! pollution! privatization!), as a general matter I don’t see why we should think they’re that dumb. Sure, reward your insiders, but do it in ways that look good to the base: cut safety, environment, anti-discrimination regulations, stuff they blame for their woes.

That is why I commend to you this very fine essay Autocracy: Rules for Survival by Masha Gessen. Perhaps it is a little bleak, but better to start from a position of realism than self-delusion. It might be the first thoroughly sensible thing I’ve read since the election.

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