Almost Enough To Make You Turn Republican.

This is a recounting of my first exposure as a sort-of political official. Last month, after being involved in politics for years, I managed to get appointed to something. This something consists of 7 people and has oversight over a small local government agency in rural California—let’s call the place Banana Valley.

There was a perturbed citizen who had bitter comments to make about everything on the agenda, but whose outrage was strangely shaped by some higher decency to conform to his time limits. He had no point at all. By his dress, I assume he was a high school teacher or a scientist of some kind.

There was a yokel colleague who voted in favor of one of the stupidest things in our area’s history complaining about our agency’s lack of money. Everything in government budgeting had to be just the same as his shitty construction business. Right. When it didn’t come out that way, he would say that he didn’t believe it as if he was being told that pigs could fly.

There was another colleague waxing philosophical but who was almost senile when he tried to pin down his point.

There were the employees trying to explain everything to a group of people who were just trying to find something to tear them apart for even though they were doing a good job. There were members of a different local government agency from Banana Valley trying to restrain their contempt for the members of this agency.

And most of the fighting was over trivial amounts of money.

What struck me so deeply was that the “tea party” instinct in some of these folks in order to save taxpayer money is on so many levels penny wise and pound foolish. They want them to get cheaper equipment. Then it has to be replaced. They want them to get lower paid employees. Then they need more employees to do the same work, or they get employees that are stupid.

What’s scary is that this is one of those things that nobody cares about until it doesn’t work. If this agency does nothing wrong, no one cares. The vote totals are the lowest of anything. Yet Banana Valley would be burned to the ground if it failed in another Southern California fire. And it shouldn’t be hard to prevent failure, except for these whack-packers trying to play Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

There has to be some juice to be had in standing up for this “just make it work” for the silent majority type of philosophy, right?

Gay Sports

I think people coming out only helps. Collectively, it seems the moral thing to do, but I don’t second guess anyone wanting to keep their private business private, much less something that is guaranteed to make them a target of hatred—even from those who are normally engaged in jock sniffing full time.

To that end, I always thought the way to do this would be to get like 50 guys from a bunch of different sports to do it all at once. It takes the focus away from one individual, and so on.

Maybe there weren’t that many guys willing to do it. I don’t know. But Martina Navratilova was out 30 years ago and I think tennis was actually more popular then.

 

Poison Gas & Poisonous Hot Air

• Drum, Atrios, TAP, and DeLong are all pissing their pants about what will happen in 2014 when Obamacare goes online. They are worried that Obama will “own” the terrible healthcare system. Obama owned since he came into office, the way he owned everything. And he super, double-plus owned it the minute the law was passed. Yes, people will grumble with any and all change. The question is whether they already didn’t think he owned it.

• Hagel says Assad probably used poison gas. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons not to do anything about that, but I’m not sure any of them matter at that point. Remember, we accepted the argument in this country that if a country does that we get to invade them. Assuming this time they actually, you know, verify that and it’s actually true I don’t think the experience in Iraq makes “doing something” less likely.

What it means is that it will be a Libya/Kosovo/Bosnia style mostly air (or DR0NZ!!!) operation. I would personally just hope that it would target one man, but we don’t assassinate because then less people would die it would be destabilizing, but we do sometimes and we have in the past. Meh.

• In Venezuela, defeated presidential candidate Capriles has accused the new President of stealing the election. It was close enough to be stolen, and while the campaign rules there are completely unfair, everyone seems to say the actual vote process is good. I wouldn’t doubt the election was stolen—not because it’s a banana republic—because that, you know, can happen here. But the long game for the anti-Chavista coalition in Venezuela has always been to let Chavez fade into the past and make his successor own the fallout (which is substantial). But maybe that coalition can’t hold, or Capriles can’t stay atop it, and maybe that close of a defeat made them feel differently.

Drone Hero Flip Flop

That was fast.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) raised more than a few eyebrows when he suggested earlier this week on Fox News Business that the U.S. government should be able to employ drones against the nation’s criminals, in particular a hypothetical armed liquor store robber.

Haha. So when a (totes white) guy robs a 40, dr0nz him. But not… When…

More False Flag Leftism From The GOP

Another day, another cynical attempt to attack from the left:

“Like in so many other areas, the President’s health care legislation failed to adequately protect sick patients with pre-existing conditions, like those battling cancer,” said Rory Cooper, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). “House Republicans are determined to do so by taking funding from a slush fund and moving it where it is critically needed.”

But this attempt failed when the “conservatives” revolted, just like the Social Security vote, and (I’m pretty sure) the Immigration bill.

So, whatever you do granola eaters—stay home in 2014! Both sides do it!!111!1!111!

In Which Thomas Friedman Accidently Reveals the Lingering Angst of the Fear Years

Thomas Friedman is the direct middleman of the NY Times’ Axis-Of-Centrist-Pseuds. To his right is Affirmative Action poster boy David Brooks (would his skills really merit NY Times columnist-dom if he wasn’t a “conservative”) who tried to concisely argue right-wing boilerplate early in his career, only to get picked apart by the Times’ letter writers. Brooks has since enveloped himself in arm chair human interaction “science” and become the slow lovechild of William Safire and Malcolm Gladwell. To Freidman’s left is Maureen Dowd whose modus operandi is to parallel the popular movie or TV of the moment with the latest DC palace intrigue — the sort of PoMo jab that would have been clever in a Freshman composition class at one of those New England colleges that starts with a “B” if it were 1983.

But it is T-Fried himself that is the Centrist Pseuds Centrist Pseud. It is he that will  declare that, look guys, we would get real about global warming and globalization if only there was a “centrist” compromise on the debt and the next six months will be crucial to the outcome of the war in Iraq because I talked to this cab driver in India and the Internet! Not all of T-Fieds ideas are wrong, but he is a bloviator who likes to point out how serious and important big THINGS are without contributing new thoughts or having any actual responsibility for any outcomes. He likes to pretend he’s at the table when the crucial decisions are made. No wonder he wound up being amongst the most egregious and pathetic of the Iraq War II Bush Patsies.

So it was startling and frustrating to read his column shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings, but before the perpetrators and their motives were known. “Fortunately,” spake T-Fried, “we don’t frighten easily anymore. You could feel it in the country on Tuesday morning. We’ve been through 9/11. We probably overreacted then, but never again. We tracked down Osama bin Laden with police and intelligence work, and we’ll do the same in this case.”

To which I responded, “Wait a minute Home Slice. YOU may have ‘probably’ over-reacted to 9/11, but I sure as hell didn’t.” Moreover, T-Fried you sure weren’t part of any police work to track him down. Indeed, I believe your advice was “give war a chance.”

Now, obviously I am not part of the “we” that captured and killed bin Laden. But The Friedster is right about the other “we” that “probably” (meaning “actually”) over-reacted to 9/11. I was against Iraq War II and not a cheerleader like Friedman. But Iraq War II was still perpetrated in my name.

Being part of this “we” is likely harder for those that were for Iraq War II or generally pro-Bush, but then changed their minds later. Bush went from amongst the most popular to the least popular presidents in American history over his eight years. But Bush didn’t change. If you went from support to despise, as millions of Americans assuredly did, then you must admit that at best you were duped and at worst your passions were manipulated to overwhelm your reason. Blowhards like Friedman aided and abetted this by puffing up the irrationalization for the war and not pushing back against the dictate that being anti-war/Bush was being anti-American. But at the end of the day the bombs were dropped, the innocents were slaughtered, the WMDs were never found and Iraq War II searched for a meaning like a forlorn hermit crab stalking a shell-less beach, as the casualties mounted.

WE definitely did overreact to 9/11, even if Thomas Friedman is probably too much a douche to admit it, and we all have to own that no matter how much we regret it.

 

More on the GOP Assault from the *LEFT*

From (ironically) Salon, which stirs the pot quite a bit on this basis:

Earlier this month, while progressive groups were slamming President Obama from the left on his decision to include a cut to Social Security benefits in his budget, the man responsible for getting Republicans elected to Congress .. .also hit Obama from the left.
***
So now, the NRCC is trying the trick again, but this time on immigration — another issue where hard-liners in the GOP are out of step with the public. A website the committee set up to attack Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff jabs him for “lik[ing] to waste taxpayer dollars almost as much as he likes the strictest immigration laws in the nation he passed as Speaker of the Colorado House.”

Nobody could have predicted… You see here’s how this works. The GOP brand is assorted with a bunch of right-wing positions. Its voters know that. They will turnout as long as the GOP doesn’t actually enact anything which is easy for it to do. But to keep the low(er) information voter from turning up in 2014, they’ll get the Dem base upset at the Dems for actually making deals they like better.

And the bait is being swallowed hook, line, and sinker. This is exactly the politics of the late 90s. They skewered Clinton because he governed, sometimes not to the left enough for Dems, but the Republicans never stopped attacking him.

We know they hate Obama and everything he does. And you don’t have to like everything Obama does—but whatever your outrage point is on a certain issue, ask yourself if it will really get better with a larger Republican majority in the House, control of the Senate, or, perhaps the White House.

Go ahead, little Maoists. Heighten the contradictions. President Jeb would love to help you with that.

More Lefty Obama Derangement, Now With Nukes

So, the U.S. is going to add tailfins to some nukes.

What’s absolutely astounding about this? In the same article detailing an Obama administration plan to reduce deployed nukes to 1100 from 1550, we find this:

Especially when you combine it with F35 with stealth characteristics, that expands the targets you can hold at risk from Europe, because by placing the explosion closer to the target you can choose a lower explosive yield. That is very important as there is less radioactive fallout. For many people this is a great concern because it means making nuclear weapons more ‘usable’.

That’s right; they’re upset that they are lowering the yield. This is the pacifist fundamentalist syndrome laid bare: the threat of more casualties is better than less actual casualties because it makes war worse–in theory making peace more desirable.

Same thing with dr0nz. They hate that it might actually make it less terrible. It’s the moral equivalent of refusing to eat synthetic meat because its still “meat” and thereby keeping the slaughter of animals commercially viable.

And here’s the attempt at drawing the headshake:

Joseph Cirincione, the president of the Ploughshares Fund, an arms control pressure group, said the B61 modernisation plans were largely driven by domestic political considerations but risked sending mixed messages to Russia at a time when Washington and Moscow needed to strike a deal.

You know, politicians! Both sides do it!

So, it’s bad a democratically elected president is responding to domestic political considerations? I’ll remember that the next time I read an article about senators ignoring the 90% who support background checks. Which is it?!

Good Job, Rush.

It is quite clear to me that the Neo-Confederate jihad against Eric Holder has been effectively sown in the mainstream mind and is sprouting fruit on the left.

The right wing doesn’t like the federal government for a lot of reasons and doesn’t want them coming after their guns and enforcing civil rights. In case you forgot, they held Holder in contempt.

Now when the Boston suspect is arrested and unresponsive the government is criticized for not immediately Mirandizing him. But this manic civil libertarianism is an ignorant one. Miranda warnings are not “required” if they don’t need your statements to be used against you. That has never been the case. They don’t have to release you. Remember: if they have enough evidence to arrest you, you’re arrested. You go to court. I don’t have time to teach everyone criminal procedure here, but this whole thing is a huge nothingburger.

Worse, just like with drones, it is a clever inter-left wedge issue that the right-wing can put out there to cause all kinds of Naderite discontent with Obama.

This is like blaming someone for their tax rate. The government sets the rules. As long as you don’t cheat, you pay the taxes you pay. (In Mitt’s case, he was campaigning on giving himself a tax cut; in Obama’s he campaigned on, and did, give himself a tax hike.) But you’re breaking the law to pay less and being stupid to pay more.

Similarly, if you don’t like the constitutional foundations of criminal procedure as interpreted by this Court the thing to do is make sure better nominees make it onto the bench of all the federal courts. Turning over the Senate and the White House to the Republicans is not how that gets done.

So, yes. Clap louder. The Justice department did the right thing here. He is not going to Guantanamo even if there’s a decent case to be made that he was an enemy combatant (not necessarily a winning one, but a decent one.)

I'm so old…

… I can remember when a US senator filibustered a presidential appointment over the fear that a terrorist it was United States citizen would be struck with a drone. We saw it this week that that was not necessary. Yet nobody brought up that whole fake issue again.

Once again, the media demonstrates that there is absolutely zero penalty for not only being wrong but being wrong intentionally.

Nullification

From The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader:

Such a convention did meet, of course, in Charleston; in December 1860 it voted to take South Carolina out of the United States. As it did so, it indeed explained why, in a document titled “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.” The Declaration begins with a biased and incomplete history of the formation of the United States. Then it lists South Carolina’s grievances against the North: “We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own statutes for the proof.” The only constitutional obligation that concerned South Carolina in 1860 was the fugitive slave clause, which the Declaration proceeds to quote. Delegates then note “an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding states to the institution of slavery.” The document immediately lists those states and the rights they tried to exercise to avoid being complicit with slavery: “The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the acts of Congress, or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service of labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution.”

(Emphasis added.) It was about slavery, slavery, and slavery. It was not about evil banks and corporate America, saving the bucolic paradise of the plantations from sprawl, or states rights. That only became the after-the-fact justification.

In fact, South Carolina apparently objected to 14 states exercising their “states rights.”

Wanker of the day

David Sirota.

Shorter Sirota: let’s hope it’s a white guy because two wrongs make a right.

Updated: Just because Bill O’Reilly and some other winger blogger agree doesn’t make Sirota right. Stopped clocks are right twice a day, and protons decay in like 10^40 years.

"Saudi questioned"

IIRC, we heard this same kind of shit right after Oklahoma City. Usually the MO of Islamic terrorists is to take credit for what they did, and this does sort of have the feel of the kind of thing that routinely happens in Israel. True, Al Qaeda did not immediately take credit, leaving Yasser Arafat to have to deny PLO involvement.

Still, given the Sandy Hook CT people and the presence of those families, the fact that it’s “tax day” (and, frankly, the location—where the original Tea Party was) would make me want to—at the very least—check some boxes on domestic terrorism as much as Islamic.

New Rule

Tragic events are intrinsically political, so anyone who says don’t “politicize” them is full of shit. If, oh just for example, the government knew that a certain sector of violent groups in America were getting more violent and it had to be ignored for political reasons, that would be something that voters would be entitled to take into account.

So would appointing your college drinking buddy to head a disaster management agency.

We want to avoid tragedies and we want the ones that can’t be avoided to be handled competently, and if there are parts or whole governments that can’t do that, it’s rightfully political to point that out.

On, by the way. From that 2009 DHS report on right-wing violence:

“Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups, as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government.” (Page 3)

Venezuela

Left-liberals like Corey Robin get all butthurt that the mainstream American doesn’t love Hugo Chavez because he was elected fairly and did stuff for the poor. That’s true, but someone who has the power to rule by decree is a dictator.

And there’s a difference between clean voting a clean campaigns. Venezuela apparently is an exemplar in the former, but state run tv props up the incumbent in the campaigns. Is it worse than the US? Maybe, but so what?

As for conservatives like the evangelical Pat Robertson who called for Chavez’s assassination, they aren’t even wrong, they are simply out of the question.

Maduro seems like he’s about to be the Gerald Ford of Venezuela. That’s probably a better result for everyone than the leader of a fragile opposition coalition coming in given the current situation—that is, if you’re really against the current party.

 

Total Obot Propaganda

So, a lot of libruls on blogs are patting themselves on the back for predicting that Obama’s budget would get attacked from the right as a Social Security cut and that he should have known that and he should not propose it and he did it only to please a few beltway insiders.

I know we all grew up on Democrats sucking, and lots of them still suck. But isn’t it entirely possible that this is the other way around? The Republicans have failed to accept the cut, so the faction of their own base that wants that done is now screwed by their own people and they made their own ad when no one was watching in early 2013?

I don’t think anyone is paying any attention right now. AARP is mad, but probably only reinforcing the President’s desires in the first place.

The minute he stops trying to offer a compromise is the minute that he gets blamed for being partisan. Until something actually gets enacted, he doesn’t own it either.

Social Security shouldn’t be cut, of course. It should be expanded to get more people out of the work force. I know. But the policy is one thing and the politics are just unclear at this point. Sorry, Loomis.

This Teaching Profession Never Existed.

A teacher’s resignation letter published by the Wapo:

My profession is being demeaned by a pervasive atmosphere of distrust, dictating that teachers cannot be permitted to develop and administer their own quizzes and tests (now titled as generic “assessments”) or grade their own students’ examinations. The development of plans, choice of lessons and the materials to be employed are increasingly expected to be common to all teachers in a given subject. This approach not only strangles creativity, it smothers the development of critical thinking in our students and assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality more appropriate to the assembly line than to the classroom. Teacher planning time has also now been so greatly eroded by a constant need to “prove up” our worth to the tyranny of APPR (through the submission of plans, materials and “artifacts” from our teaching) that there is little time for us to carefully critique student work, engage in informal intellectual discussions with our students and colleagues, or conduct research and seek personal improvement through independent study. We have become increasingly evaluation and not knowledge driven. Process has become our most important product, to twist a phrase from corporate America, which seems doubly appropriate to this case.

I don’t know where this magical land of quasi-professors creating their own curriculum out of their own academic brilliance ever existed outside of a movie like Dead Poets Society. And that’s the problem: this was a very elite, very WASPy world. For every teacher that was capable of pulling off this feat, and there were and are many, in a school like some that I attended, there were two that simply handed us dittoed sheets of crap.

It’s not that I think that testing and reform are everything (or anything) they claim to be. It’s not that I don’t think that teachers shouldn’t be treated as professionals. It’s not that I don’t think that there are problems with one-size-fits-all mentalities in education.

But I don’t disagree with these things on the basis of a past that didn’t exist.

After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists. I feel as though I have played some game halfway through its fourth quarter, a timeout has been called, my teammates’ hands have all been tied, the goal posts moved, all previously scored points and honors expunged and all of the rules altered.

I think Mr. Conti maybe is experiencing a nostalgia for an idealism he once had, but I don’t want to deconstruct him too much. What he ought to realize is that it’s not just testing that’s the problem. It’s not testing that has created a conformist mentality in our schools. When public schools were invented in Prussia in an emerging German nation-state, this is exactly what they were supposed to do. We adopted the model almost wholesale.

Of course, the elites in the East went to private schools where they had less hamburger and more filet and got to spend more time convincing themselves that years of indulgence in the existential meaning of Hamlet’s failure to man up is a priority in an impoverished world.

I now find that this approach to my profession is not only devalued, but denigrated and perhaps, in some quarters despised. STEM rules the day and “data driven” education seeks only conformity, standardization, testing and a zombie-like adherence to the shallow and generic Common Core, along with a lockstep of oversimplified so-called Essential Learnings.

Ahh, the accursed science, technology, engineering, and mathematics! God forbid we train more of these people! What we need is more waiters at the local Italian restaurant who can talk to me about Proust when they take my drink order and less people who can build bridges, cure disease, understand the massive data-deluge that pervades our world in 2013, and land probes on Mars!

Assuming we have not moved to eliminate the humanities (which is true; we have not), where exactly is the error in prioritizing fields that benefit society instead of the individual? Maybe you can have a more authentic individual encounter with the universe through these means, but does it really make you a better contributor to society? (Not that people who study these things can’t contribute, but does this knowledge in and of itself do so? A little, but not as much as STEM.)

It’s unclear if his criticism of one-size fits all is simply with respect to the curricular axis or whether it is a criticism of not separating students by ability level or whether it’s not separating his school from somewhere else where a standard curriculum would be an improvement. It’s a multi-headed monster, fighting against one-size fits all.

Teachers should be paid more money. Probably something like twice what they’re paid. Any capitalist would agree that this would increase the demand and improve the supply like magic. There are a lot of “shoulds” in education.

But most of them ignore the underlying social reality: we have great inequality. Education doesn’t fix it on its own, but it helps. We have a job market where college graduates are stealing jobs from teenagers at McDonalds to pay off student loans and are living at home until later and later in their lives. One of the most popular features of Obamacare was letting “kids” (i.e. mid-20s) stay on their parents health insurance for one more year!

Try walking into a room full of people with English degrees who graduated since 2008 and you have a corps ready for revolution, not a bunch who are totally stoked on their artistic self.

Epistemic Closure

One of the most important legacies of Orwell was that he was an intellectual gadfly to both left and right, while clearly falling on the left-wing side of center, especially for today.

There’s a proper way to serve this role. Contrarian hippy punching, a la Slate magazine, is just a form of status peacocking among people who are more concerned with being smart than being right.

But there is a form of constructive argument that does more than this, that is more than mere concern trolling. It’s about being right.

The dirty hippies were right about Iraq, are right about global warming, were right about austerity, and have been right about a lot more things than the smart preppies. But a lot of the dirty hippies on these issues were actually experts not buying a bunch of bullshit…

A lot of dirty hippies were wrong about health care. Those who wanted to “kill the bill” instead of pass an incremental step, I believe, were wrong. And not just in a tactical way, that invites concern trolling, but in a violating the principles of liberals strategic way.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that when the godfather of climate science, the first major scientist to claim that a man-made greenhouse effect was on the rise in a big splash kind of way who was in fact a climate scientist, James Hansen, releases a study saying that nuclear power is a net benefit to the world in terms of human lives, it should come as no surprise that we won’t get anything but brickbats from the perfect-kill-the-good firebagger left.

James Hansen becoming a target of derision on the left is like what happened to Chris Christie after Sandy. The firebagger left is experiencing its own epistemic closure. Doesn’t this guy at least have one article’s worth of credibility to burn?

This isn’t a “both sides” do it claim, because I’m not referring to “the left” as whole. There are several sides in this schema that don’t “do it”. I’m referring to the segment of the left that acts like the right.

How my $150 bike says "fuck you, postmodernism."

A few years ago, when my only children were dogs, I exercised a lot. I got into condition to do a triathlon and I could pretty effortlessly run 5k. I know fitness people would consider that to be kinda newb stuff, but for the 99%, so to speak, that’s prettttttty pretty good.

I could have possibly borrowed a bike for the actual event, but I needed one to train. So, I headed to the Internet to find out what the experts thought about bikes. Where I live, the arterial roads are clogged like an Alabaman’s aorta with yuppies biking in their Lance Armstrong regalia, always in higher density around the time of whenever ESPN gives 30 seconds on SportsCenter to the Tour d’whatever.

So, naturally, my heart doctor friend had an $800 bike that was rusting away untouched. Craigslist had advertisements for what bike people considered “burners” suitable for a 2nd or 3rd bike that you might take somewhere on a weekend trip for the range of $400 or so, badly used and not to be caught dead on without the excuse of “I had to leave my good bike at home.” (Don’t forget to use your backup man-spandex too to shave off that extra millisecond of time)

Guys who are 30 pounds overweight are paying $10,000 for bikes that weigh a few grains less than the ones that cost $5,000 to save a few seconds of time in their time trials (I guess).

I felt the gravitation pull of yet another gear vortex. I have been sucked into them before. I have a fairly kickass brewery in my garage, along with rock climbing gear, and a badass amateur radio station. These at least were hobbies I had for many many years.

But the pull was resisted. I found a bike for $150 plus shipping on Walmart.com. The bike shop guy was almost too cool to tune it up for me.

I did the triathlon with perhaps the cheapest bike and finished in the middle (after being last in the swimming—so, like, catching up).

I did not pretend that a fancy bike would make me an athlete (though I do find that Gatorade works for me in those situations and doesn’t taste like shit like Powerade). Power-fucking-ade. Come on.

Of course, yuppie dentists riding on bikes shows the leisure class for what it is, and shows some sort of mechanical reflex we have to actually do something even when we can’t. The fake-real is what all these people are after, just like these douches who buy dream catchers on indian reservations.

These people trying to deny their material, neoliberal, wealthy life is comical to the point of ridiculous. And I think this more or less strikes the difference between the annoying PC liberal and the person who wants to life all boats even if it’s not totally spiritual, man. Something like Orwell, whose magazine is the inspiration for this blog’s name and outlook.