Quote of the Day posts
Tuesday August 22, 2023
“Although he has long enjoyed the sleazy glamour and cynical counsel supplied by Mob-adjacent figures like Roy Cohn, his mentor in matters of conscience and the law, Trump has no code and shows no loyalty. Despite his mobster cosplay, in short, he lacks even a gangster's sense of dignity. Carmine (the Snake) Persico, for all his many sins, would have found Trump unworthy of the Cosa Nostra. Before the Mafia's disintegration, a boss was obliged to help a fallen or legally entangled soldier. And yet Trump won't even pay the legal bills of Giuliani, his loyal sidekick.”
-- David Reminck, “The Mobster Cosplay of Donald Trump,” The New Yorker
Friday July 14, 2023
George Will: Putin's Fifth Column is the GOP
“The Republican nomination contest is accelerating, as is Ukraine's counteroffensive, the latter underscoring the stakes of the former. During Spain's civil war, a rebel general boasted that he had four columns marching on Madrid and ”a fifth column“ in Madrid, meaning supporters of the army's insurgency. Vladimir Putin's fifth column is not in Kyiv but in the Trump-DeSantis faction of the Republican Party.
”Putin has two hopes for a less than completely mortifying rescue from his Ukraine blunder. One is the election of Trump, whose frivolousness about national security complements his weakling's admiration for a bully. Putin's other hope is the election of DeSantis, who says (or said, before retreating when criticized) Russia's attempt to erase a European nation is a “territorial dispute.” And whose pandering to Trumpkins prevents him from denouncing House Republicans who are as eager to abandon Ukraine as they would have been to abandon Czechoslovakia in 1938.“
-- George Will, ”Neither Trump nor DeSantis will get the GOP nomination," The Washington Post. I hope he's right. I hope he's prophetic. It'll make things tougher for the Democrats but it'll be much, much better for the nation. (Well, depending on who winds up with it.)
Friday May 26, 2023
“DeSantis's whole deal is that he's supposed to be super-competent. 'I'm better at being a fascist fuck than Donald Trump is.' that's it, that's his whole ballgame.
”there's just one tiny problem with that: it's complete bullshit. ...
“I'll go on record right now: Ron DeSantis is never going to be president. he's awkward. he's unpleasant. he's not funny. he's not entertaining. he has negative charisma. he's clumsy. he carries himself like a lizard-creature from outer space wearing an ill-fitting human skin suit. he laughs like a braying hyena.”
-- Jeff Tiedrich, “Meatball Ron can't stop fucking the chicken,” written in the wake of DeSantis' presidential campaign launch with Elon Musk on Twitter that went horribly, beautifully, disastrously wrong. BTW: I've been saying the above for a few months now—once I saw DeSantis interact, or try to interact, with potential voters. “Negative charisma” is exactly right. I'll go further. He's not going to be the GOP nominee. It'll just have to be some other asshole. Yes, probably the same asshole.
Friday December 30, 2022
What Becomes an Artist Most
“An artist has got to be careful never to really arrive at a place where he thinks he's at somewhere. You always have to realize that you're constantly in a state of becoming, and as long as you can stay in that realm, you'd sort of be all right.”
-- Bob Dylan, “No Direction Home.” Did any artist do a better job of this—of sticking with not-sticking—than Dylan? He pissed off his entire fan base for not remaining what they wanted him to be. There's supposed to be an entire movie about it, “Going Electric,” directed by James Mangold, starring Timothée Chalamet. If it's made, I hope this is the kind of thing they tap into.
Friday November 25, 2022
Quote for the Day
“Being judged by your ability to self-promote is a time-honored American mistake.”
-- Greg LaVallee, “You Can't Code Your Way Out of the Culture Problem,” Slate. LaVallee, the VP of tech at Slate, is reacting to Elon Musk's demand that Twitter employees who “actually write software” send him “a bullet point summary of what your code commits have achieved in the past ~6 months, along with up to 10 screenshots of the most salient lines of code.” LaVallee goes into why this is idiotic and a waste of time—code tends to be written by teams, it has its own story, and Twitter has a culture problem not a code problem—but the above gets at the heart of it. For all American business.
Tuesday June 28, 2022
Twitter Needs More Mr. Spectors
“When I was a boy, I had a religious-school teacher named Mr. Spector, whose job was to confront us with the peril we presented to ourselves. ... He seemed to take our moral failings for granted and, perhaps as a result, favored lively argument over reproach or condemnation.”
-- from Michael Chabon's essay “Secret Skin,” from 2008, on The New Yorker site
Wednesday June 22, 2022
Quote of the Day
I like that Ostlund could be talking about himself. At the least, with films like “Force Majeure,” “The Square” and I assume “Triangle of Sadness,” he's not interested in pleasing the audience. He's not interested in giving us a wish fulfillment fantasy—a vision of ourselves as younger and braver and humble and free, as Joe Henry sang. He's the opposite of that. And that of course makes him very interesting.
Friday June 10, 2022
Quote of the Year
“Tonight I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”
-- Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), during the opening night of the Jan. 6 hearings. The New York Times includes 5 Takeaways but the biggest one for me was how formidable Cheney is, and how expertly she laid out everything. Her tone was exactly right. Her storytelling was exactly right. We agree on almost nothing politically but we agree on Jan. 6 and Trump and the GOP's cowardice and culpability; and, save climate change, that's still the biggest issue today. It's still the gravest threat to American democracy.
ADDENDUM: Good stuff from James Fallows.
Thursday May 26, 2022
“Life eventually humbles us all. What I love about experts, the best of them anyway, is that they get to their humility early. They have to. It's part of who they are. It's necessary for what they're doing. They set out to get to the bottom of something that has no bottom. And so they're reminded, constantly, of what they don't know. They move through the world focused not on what they know, but on what they might find out.”
-- Michael Lewis, “Against the Rules” podcast, Season 3, Episode 7, “The Person Who Knows.” This season focused on experts and the whole thing is worth listening to. This particularly episode, dealing with pandemic response generally and our fucked-up Covid response in particular, was infuriating—having to listen again to those who spread misinformation and never bothered to correct matters; who never offered up even one small mea culpa for all the damage they did.
Sunday March 06, 2022
Quote of the Day
“My life today is wonderful. I believe that I am needed. ... That's the most important sense of life—that you are needed, that you are not just an emptiness that breathes and walks and eats something.”
— Pres. Volodymyr Zelensky, via translator, March 3, when asked about his living conditions a week into the attack of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin's Russia. David Remnick weighs in as well.
Tuesday January 18, 2022
Quote of the Day
“We are better off in a very big way now. Trump is not president. We don't have to react to his fucking insanity every goddamned hour of every goddamned day. That guy kicked the doors into people's brains, right and left, all around. Had a different effect on each. Some people, who never knew what the president did, and still don't, or don't have a firm understanding of how government even works, just let that guy into their brain and fucking kick it around and get them all excited. What Trump did ... through persistence, and aggravated will, and full-on narcissistic intent, was destroy people's understanding of the necessity of tolerance. Democracy can't work without tolerance. Civic duty, civic responsibility, civic structure—if this is supposed to work it's supposed to work for everybody. Now it's a fractured fucking mess. Because no one feels like they have to tolerate anything anymore. ...
”Personally, I'm fine with [President Biden]. I like not knowing what the president is doing every five fucking minutes. But this fucking monster we had for four years was so entertaining to so many craven idiots, they just got excited. They felt part of it. 'Hey, let's be part of the Big Fuck You. And now let's be part of the Big Lie. Hey, we were on board for the Big Fuck You, let's be on board for this bullshit.'"
-- Marc Maron, WTF Podcast, Jan. 6, 2022, on the one-year anniversary
Saturday December 18, 2021
“The night before the election, [Chris Christie] assured a Canadian interviewer that Trump and Biden were 'both responsible men' and that, should Biden win, there was 'no question in my mind that President Trump will participate in a peaceful transition of power.' Rather than admitting that he was wrong all along about Trump, he touts his own bravery when he tells George Stephanopoulos, on ABC, that 'I disagree' with Trump's seditious course. This is rather like disagreeing with the assault on Fort Sumter.”
-- David Remnick, in The New Yorker, reviewing Christie's new book, “Republican Rescue,” which is all about a path forward for the Republican party. Remnick calls it “MAGA Lite”: Continue to talk positively about Trump so as not to lose the Trumpites, the majority of the party now, talk about “election integrity” without owning up to Jan. 6, and then bring up socialism or Critical Race Theory or the meme of the moment when it comes to the Democrats. Basically go cynical and opportunistic and hope the middle American ground doesn't notice, as it tends not to, particularly during midyear elections. Which are just 11 months away.
Monday October 04, 2021
Quote of the Day
“Coverage of the Democrats' efforts to craft a reconciliation bill has been relentlessly superficial. Reporting from inside the Beltway resembles campaign horse-race journalism, with an unwavering focus on minute-by-minute assessments of who's up and who's down. ... At times, it almost seems as if reporters are uncomfortable with the messy give-and-take of legislation and negotiation — preferring instead a cleaner, more autocratic style, in which a few highly-placed people snap their fingers and things get done in lockstep.”
-- Joe Ferullo, “Journalism has 'comforted the comfortable' for too long now,” in The Hill. Great article. Agree with so much of it. In this process, the messiness of the give-and take of democracy is dinged. I'd love for the Democrats to finally agree on an infrastructure bill, but at least they're having a discussion about what we value, how fair is society, and the role of the federal government in all of that. The Republicans are just a bunch of dicks dicking around. Useless.
Friday September 10, 2021
Quote of the Pandemic
“My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We've made vaccinations free, safe, and convenient. The vaccine has FDA approval. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot.
”We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So, please, do the right thing. But just don't take it from me; listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breaths, saying, 'If only I had gotten vaccinated. If only.' It's a tragedy. Please don't let it become yours.“
-- Pres. Joe Biden, announcing new federal regulations to combat the COVID pandemic, including requiring private-sector businesses with more than 100 employees to ensure that all of their employees are vaccinated or test negative once a week. He also called the Delta strain ”a pandemic of the unvaccinated,“ which is true, and admonished elected officials (Republicans, all, let's face it) who actively work ”to undermine the fight against COVID-19. Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they're ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated dying from COVID in their communities. This is totally unacceptable." It's a disgrace is what it is. But I'm so thankful they're moving in this direction and I could give a flying fuck about the mewling from the worst of the GOP, who are letting people die because it's politicially convenient for them.
Monday August 23, 2021
Quote of the Day
“You're basically trying to create a new country in a country that's been around for centuries. ... If we're not planning to stay forever, why do we think Afghans will side with us or the government they know we're paying for? Whenever we leave, it's going to fall apart.”
-- Spc. Joshua Duren, to reporter Martin Kuz, in Logar province, Afghanistan, 2011, as remembered in Kuz's article “Looking back at Afghanistan as the past returns,” in The Christian Science Monitor. The feel is that throughout our attempt at nation-building in Afghanistan, everyone on the ground knew what the brass wouldn't say: It wasn't working. Kuz also reminds us that the Taliban offered to surrender in December 2001, but Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld rejected the offer. Add that to his list.
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