What a great rant. True, true, true. I've always hated "folks," and now I know why:
The Way We Live Now: Just Us Folks
The word is everywhere, a plague spread by the President of the United States, television anchors, radio talk show hosts, preachers in megachurches, self-help gurus, and anyone else attempting to demonstrate his or her identification with ordinary, presumably wholesome American values. Only a few decades ago, Americans were addressed as people or, in the more distant past, ladies and gentlemen.
Now we are all folks. Television commentators, apparently confusing themselves with the clergy, routinely declare that “our prayers go out to those folks” — whether the folks are victims of drought, hurricane, flood, child molestation, corporate layoffs, identity theft, or the war in Iraq (as long as the victims are American and not Iraqi). Irony is reserved for fiction.....
While the word “folks” was once a colloquialism with no political meaning, there is no escaping the political meaning of the term when it is reverently invoked by public officials in twenty-first-century America. After the terrorist bombings in London on July 7, 2005, President Bush assured Americans, “I’ve been in contact with our homeland security folks and I instructed them to be in touch with local and state officials about the facts of what took place here and in London and to be extra vigilant as our folks start heading to work.”
Bush went on to observe that “the contrast couldn’t be clearer, between the intentions of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who’ve got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks.” Those evil terrorists. Our innocent folks. ...
The specific political use of folks as an exclusionary and inclusionary signal, designed to make the speaker sound like one of the boys or girls, is symptomatic of a debasement of public speech inseparable from a more general erosion of American cultural standards. Casual, colloquial language also conveys an implicit denial of the seriousness of whatever issue is being debated: talking about folks going off to war is the equivalent of describing rape victims as girls (unless the victims are, in fact, little girls and not grown women).
Yes, yes, YES!!!! Read below the fold...
[Previously posted at Naked Capitalism. This my second long-form attempt to show the ethical failure at the heart of the ObamaCare marketplace. I still don't seem to have found the right language. --lambert]
I probably shouldn't even tangle with David Cutler; he's from Harvard, and he's wicked smart. Anyhow. Also too, he advised the 2008 Obama Campaign on health care. But there were some things he said in this recent interview with PBS (and in his now famous 2010 letter to Larry Summers) that really ticked me off, and so I want to lay down a few markers. First, let's look at two charts: Read below the fold...
"Here In America, The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans--We're Fighting Inside The Forty Yard Line" [Updated]
[Video Credit: C-Span, Washington Journal, "Open Phones" Segment, November 20, 2013]
[Update/Correction: Thanks, CMike, for pointing out that PBO said "forty," not four yard line. Of course, my point remains the same--which was that even the President, in the "right company," acknowledges that there is very little ideological difference between the corporatist wings of the two legacy parties. At least not on the two main issues that I vote on--fiscal and foreign policy.
I was rushed and misunderstood him. Just figured that he wasn't a football fan. Should have checked the transcript--which I had bookmarked to read at a later date.]
President Obama: "When you go to other countries, the political divisions are so much more stark and wider. Here in America, the difference between Democrats and Republicans--we're fighting inside the forty yard line."
Tweedledum and Tweedledee? Read below the fold...
1. Gas company guys putting in a new line (not that I'm going to be able to use it right away);
2. Mr. Steam coming to fix cracked radiator;
3. Mr. Fixit coming to fix caulk in one shower so other shower can be shut down for its drain to be fixed;
4. Friend's teen boy coming to stack the wood.
So where's my fucking helicopter drop? I'd make better use of it than buying a new Hermès yacht cover, or priceless-except-not art, or (for that matter) hooker and blow.
Ben? Janet? Barry? Anyone? Read below the fold...
Gopher said she and her husband, Brock Conway, were talking Friday night about whether she should run for the House again. She placed third in a four-way Democratic primary in 2010, despite raising or spending little money.
“We were just kind of sitting on the fence,” she said. “You take a plunge and see what happens. It feels right on a lot of levels. When you’re navigating purposely and you just want to put something out there and go with it, sometimes your instincts are stronger than any game plan you could come up with.”
Her candidacy will ensure a Democratic primary for the U.S. House. Earlier this fall, John Lewis of Helena, a former top aide to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, entered the race. ...
“On my end, I’m going to keep it positive, but at the same time, we sort of need a shake-up,” she said. “I think he’ll be more of the same of what we’ve seen for a long time. We need a new set of eyes. I don’t necessarily subscribe to doing things the same way.”
Gopher criticized Baucus’ signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
“I don’t like it,” Gopher said. “I think we have to renew the idea of a single-payer (health care system), and I will fight for it. We’re not an impoverished nation like Haiti. We are a wealthy nation and we can afford health care for our citizens.”
Baucus really needs to be punished. As do his associates. Read below the fold...
I'm working on some Medicare for All graphics that with your indulgence I would like to post here to solicit critiques. None of them have specific calls to action for now because I don't know where to direct people that they won't get bogged down, so I'll add those later as they become appropriate. (And I welcome any suggestions about whom to hook up with.) For now, I just want to get a sense of what works visually and textually for people who aren't me.
I'm doing this now because I think the ongoing Obamacare drama presents an opportunity to raise the visibility of single-payer and to draw new adherents to it from a variety of positions. Everybody everywhere likes them some Medicare, except the people whose profits are diminished by it. Nobody likes insurance companies, except the people whose profits depend on them. This is one of those rare moments when just about everybody is talking about health care and 90% of the people who are talking about it are saying "lord god this is fucked up."
Probably everybody who hangs out at Lambert's joint is of the opinion that we were robbed of a splendid opportunity to push for single-payer in 2009-2010. Now there's another opportunity and we'll be robbing ourselves if we don't take advantage of it.
The background photo in this flyer is off Flickr using a creative commons license. For font aficionados, the font all the way through is ITC New Baskerville Standard. I want to make graphics that are suitable both for posting online and printing as handouts/pinups. Let me know what you think.
Robert Kuttner, capo di tutti capi of career "progressives," channels Macbeth as the light dawns, five years too late
Taking the long view, it looks increasingly as if 2008 was a missed historical moment. It was a moment when Wall Street and the ideology of laissez faire were in well-deserved disgrace and the Republican Party's stewardship was discredited.
Nobody could have predicted.... Kuttner is a little less pointed than he could be. He omits to mention that Obama, besides winning the Presidency with the political class solidly behind him and the reputation as the greatest orator of his time, plus the House, and the Senate, could have had a 100 Days like FDR's. And pundits in Kuttner's exalted position are supposed to make the right calls, as opposed to marginal bloggers and guys who "knew Obama when." Read below the fold...
Republicans and Democrats to work together to gut Social Security, pass Chained CPI, without CALLING it a "grand bargain"
If the brand is toxic, change the branding! The Atlantic:
Though several Republicans have been threatening a big showdown over the debt limit and government funding with President Obama this fall, it's possible that maybe we won't approach total fiscal calamity this time. In an interview with The National Review's Robert Costa, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sounds tough, but outlines what could be the outlines of a deal. And top Obama aides have been meeting with eight Senate Republicans to figure out a compromise on these issues, The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas and Kristina Peterson report. But there probably won't be a longer-term "grand bargain."
McConnell warns Democrats, "The tax issue is over." But he suggests Republicans are open to preventing a second year of the sequester. "You want sequester relief? Then let’s talk about a reduction in entitlement spending," he says. "Ithink a place to talk is on things like chained CPI." Obama has already said he'd support chained CPI, which is a less generous way of calculating the cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security benefits. McConnell also floats raising the age of eligibility for Medicare, which Democrats do not like. McConnell says, "In return for that, we could trade less spending reduction on the discretionary side, because we all know the biggest challenge is actually not on the discretionary side, but on entitlements. To me, that’s a better place to go in the fall than signaling that you’re open to raising taxes."