1. souse, n.5: 3. A drunkard. slang (chiefly U.S.). (OED)
  2. white souse, n.1: A blog for literature, politics, science, and the occasional cocktail.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Star Wars as Dallas

Thanks Boing Boing and Bonnie.

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Video of HIV Infection

This is remarkable. Scientists have captured video of an HIV-infected T cell transferring the virus directly into a healthy T-Cell through a virological synapse -- basically a tunnel from the interior of one cell into the interior of another. This is a huge development, because it shows that once the virus has infected a host, it can spread without ever leaving its host cells, and this means that the immune system's antibodies, which float around outside the cells, are never given a chance to recognize and attack the virus as it spreads.

This suggests part of why and AIDS vaccine has been so difficult to develop; not only does the virus change the proteins on its surface in order to prevent an effective immune response, it looks like any vaccine targeted at the virus itself can only function as a first line of defense -- attempting to recognize and destroy the virus before it infects any cells. This is a huge problem, especially because the immune system requires some spool-up time, even after vaccination to ramp up antibody production once an invading wave of viruses has been recognized. The lag in "secondary response" combined with the virus' ability to hide in host cells means that, by the time the immune system is up to speed, it's probably too late.

Of course, there are other avenues of treatment; it should now be possible to target the specific proteins which infected cells coat themselves with in order to capture healthy cells and create the virological synapses (in the video below, you can see how the healthy cell becomes stuck and is unable to separate, while other healthy cells bounce off each other). By recognizing those proteins, the immune system can target and destroy infected cells. And this approach, if we work it out, should be vastly more effective than attempting to catch the virus before it infects any cells.

Still, it's a lesson in how much we still have to learn about the mechanics of basic microbiology. We have a tendency to see viruses as stripped-down machines, little boxes of infectious badness that float around and overwhelm us with their lethal efficiency and sheer numbers. But this sometimes overlooks how active and innovative viruses are. It's stunning what HIV can do with only a handful of genes. And it's amazing that after two decades of research into HIV we are only now starting to unravel its mechanisms of transmission.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Anvil Bar and Real Ale's Real Ale

On Saturday I went to the second soft-opening night at Anvil Bar & Refuge -- a sharp new cocktail spot started up Robert Heugel, Kevin Floyd, and Steve Flippo. They've even got a blog--drink dogma--with some great articles, though updating has been molasses-slow as they put the finishing touches on their shop. Robert and Kevin are local bartending celebrities, coming off a stint building Beaver's bar into easily the best place to go for classic or experimental cocktails done the classic way. (They've been replaced by the boyish Ryan Rouse who is a phenom in his own right.)

Anywho, I still don't think they've opened officially (there's still paper over the windows), but after local food critic Alice Cook tweeted Anvil's unofficial opening Friday night, excited tipplers swamped the place. To my tastes, the inspired (though citrus-laden) cocktails were uneven; there are a swarm of bartenders who are pain-stakingly crafting each drink and circulating to take orders, and the result is that the same drink can come out six different ways. Sometimes variation is a beautiful thing, but when you're playing with grapefruit juice, results may (and do) vary.

But there was a transcendent note to the night: my friend C. found out that they've ordered two wooden kegs of Real Ale's Full Moon Pale Rye. And the heavens parted, and the clarion call rang out across the land.

You see, to my tastes this is the biggest beer event since someone gave me a brewing kit from Austin Homebrew Supply in college. As noted below, Full Moon is one of my favorite beers and a key motivator for my own brewing experiments. And I've often wondered why Real Ale doesn't make real ale -- the English and adopted American term for beer that is cask-conditioned and served with a gravity pump (rather than force-carbonated with CO2 and pushed through a soda-inspired metal faucet). The return to "real" or "cask" ale is probably the defining movement of English microbrewing over the last couple decades. So I always thought it weird that Real Ale didn't make some -- and now I understand (1) that this was their long-term ambition all along, and (2) that I'm going to get to try my favorite done the old-fashioned way (maybe even with an old-fashioned). So who cares if the economy is in the tank? The Golden Age of Texas microbrewing has arrived.

UPDATE: I contacted Real Ale and it seems they will be sending a cask to Anvil sometime soon. I'll keep you posted.

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Christopher Walken Twitters

I've heaped plenty of scorn on twitter with friends and family. But even if Twitter soon finds its rightful place in the young dustbin of the internet (alongside the dancing baby and Numa Numa) Christopher Walken's twits(?) will have justified the ignoble experiment.

# I can't say where we're going this evening. It's not a secret or anything - I just don't always listen well. We should keep this between us.1:27 PM Mar 20th from web

# There's a kid on a Pogo stick in front of my house. It's nearly midnight so let's assume he's been drinking. This should end well for him.7:41 PM Mar 18th from web

# The Pope is in Africa "reaffirming the ban on condom use." His old stuff was funnier. I don't get this new material. Too edgy for my taste.1:10 PM Mar 18th from web

# I claim to be frightened of horses but do so only to get out of attending parades. It's peculiar but has served me well. The horses get it.10:49 AM Mar 17th from web

# A soldier on leave told me how much he admired me. Without really knowing me at all. We're alike that way. I hope to see him again too.9:20 AM Mar 16th from web

# A dog walked by wearing a frilly sweater. The neighbor kid laughed and said, "That's gay!" He meant the cardigan, I think. Not the dog.6:07 AM Mar 15th from web

# No. I'm not really Tina Fey. That was an odd question but I applaud its random nature.6:57 AM Mar 13th from web

# An escalator in Grand Central Station is out-of-service. I stood on it for a minute or two in the name of subtle irony. No-one else did.1:19 PM Mar 6th from web

# Someone commended me for being "approachable." Okay. The truth is that I'm easily distracted and don't notice people touching me right away.2:30 PM Mar 5th from web

# My new pencil fits my hand well but its lead breaks too easily. I can't decide if it's irony or just irritating. I overcomplicate things.9:09 AM Feb 20th from web

# Ashton Kutcher. That's his name. He pushed Obama over the top just as he singlehandedly inspired a generation to wear scarves needlessly.10:21 AM Jan 21st from web

# I wonder how today would have been had Demi Moore and that gangly kid not supported Obama. President Kucinich maybe? Or the other guy.9:55 AM Jan 21st from web

# I would like to see someone land a train in the Hudson.12:57 PM Jan 16th from web

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mission Creep

Planning for the wedding is clipping along, but I'm still aghast at the time, resources, and money that today's weddings involve. I've gained a new-found admiration for a couple of friends of mine who eloped last year. The most troubling part of the wedding planning is the mission creep: started at 50 guests, now it's closer to 100; started with simple food, now a full-service caterer; started with a fiend as officiant, now it's an episcopal minister. And it goes (almost) without saying that the *lavish* 15K budget I'd originally imagined is taking out U.S. deficit dimensions. But once all of the deposits go out, we'll be pot committed, as they say in poker, so there's little we'll be able to do about it.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Death of Journalism Mash-up: Ezra Klein and Matt Continetti on Clay Shirkey

Below is a Blogging Heads clip where Ezra (of the American Prospect) and Matt (of the Weekly Standard) toss around an article by Clay Shirkey on the death of newspapers. It's a great conversation between two pretty high-profile policy bloggers.

The argument from Shirkey is very, very strong. It states that the vast majority of newspaper readers have only been interested in the news on A1 of their local paper. And the ad revenue generated by that interest subsidized a ton of additional journalism. Klein calls it a "benevolent inefficiency." He argues that all of that journalism was really for a handful of regulators and politicians--the elites--and not for the general audience. And now that people in any market can get more and better versions of that A1 national news from the New York Times, bloggers and cable networks, there's no argument for the rest of the stuff local newspapers provided, and no subsidy to provide it. The collapse of local papers means that this regulatory feed-back is going to shut down, and "we won't know what we won't know"--to allude to an earlier post.

I'd add a further point. This additional non-A1 coverage created an enormous amount of reserve investigational capacity -- reporters who were trained to look into specific areas outside of A1 news. So when a C1 story went A1 (for instance, when Enron busted, or Katrina hit), there is a team of seasoned veterans who can provide deeply-sourced, intelligent coverage and analysis, because they'd been writing on related topics all along.

And this is the additional problem with the collapse of local news. Front-page news is only generally national -- sometimes the front page national news is in your back yard. And the New York Times and CNN can't cover those stories as well as a strong regional daily. Of course, during recent budget cutting, newspapers are already slashing the seasoned beat reporters, who are necessarily older and hence, better-paid and more expensive. So this capacity is already dying nationally, regardless of whether most of the dailies survive.

Shirkey makes a great point: the issue is not really the future of newspapers, but the future of journalism, and it's clear that going forward, those will continue to dissociate. That said, the form of the newspaper evolved to develop a very robust investigative model, and strong institutions, with all of the institutional knowledge that created. I'm not sure if internet journalism going forward can find the same long-term institutional strength. Imagine if much investigative journalism ends up funded by the public and by private foundations (as suggested by Ezra). Every major recession, every new budget-cutting push in government, would create a new crisis. Yikes.

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Beer Bulletin: Slacker Coming

Just a quick update on the brewing. The first batch of Megaberry Wheat came out great; great raspberry aroma, a dry wheat beer, very crisp, pink color, and substantial (but not overpowering) fruit. I might back off slightly on the raspberry, but inasmuch as the whole point isn't really to suit my taste but M's (and she loves it), maybe I'll leave it alone.

Yellow Rose is coming along well; I just pulled it off the peaches, and I'll let it rest a week or so to clear further before bottling.

But the exciting news is the Slacker in the Rye -- my tribute to Austin and Real Ale's Full Moon. The reason I started brewing again in NJ was because I couldn't find it out there. Slacker finished its primary fermentation and BOY does it have a spicy rye nose. I used Cascade and Willamette hops for flavor and aroma, figuring they'd exacerbate the spiciness I'm trying to draw out. With a touch of Victory malt and Belgian Aromatic, and a backbone of six row to give it plenty or grain flavor, I'm hoping the malt profile will help fill in and whip-crackin' Rye.

I've been on a real Rye kick lately--Rye bread, whiskey, cocktails. I'm even thinking of making an Old-Fashion Rye pale ale (based on the cocktail). But I've got lots to do to prepare for BBQ season and the wedding first.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Iowa Hawk has a crazy article about the rediscovery of "Big Daddy" Roth's Orbitron. Now tell me if it's not the model for The Ambiguously Gay Duo's "Duocar"? (Roth, when designing the car, said "I am going to build a car that will be irresistible to women... They will want to climb on it, scratch the paint and just crawl all over it.")

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Save Texas Beer

Please take some time to call you state representative in support of HB 2094; a bill which would make selling small to-go packs of beer legal at local microbreweries. Direct sales are ESSENTIAL to setting craft brewing on a sound footing here in Texas; we've only got a handful microbrews in this state, versus hundreds of wineries, and a huge part of that is this law. (When the legislature voted several years ago to permit direct sales at wineries, the Texas industry took off.) If you care at ALL about beer, or if you have even a passing affection for locals like St. Arnolds and Shiner (or rising stars like Real Ale, Southern Star, or Rahr and Sons), you can take a few minutes to call or write and encourage the Licensing and Administration committee not to kill this bill (like they did two years ago).

Your support is essential, because the major beer distributors (who sell Bud, Miller, and Coors) dump tons of money on the legislature to make sure that Texas remains a hostile environment for in-state breweries. That's what happened the last time this bill went around (you can read what Robb Walsh says about it here and here).

On a personal note, many of these microbreweries are staffed with hard-working folks who are tremendously nice. Live Oak, for instance, once allowed me and my friends to put on a play at their brewery up in Austin (con cerveza backstage), and when I visited their new BBQ brewpub a week ago, invited be to come back and spend the day brewing some time. I'd take that over Busch Gardens any day.

So please, PLEASE take the time to call, and email/forward this to anyone you can think of in this state who might be interested in helping out (especially those of you who are part of a family clan here -- Jeffrey, that means YOU).

NOTE: The hearing is this Wednesday, March 16, in room E2.016 of the state capitol. Anyone want to carpool?

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Drug Education Programs

I've always thought that most "drug education" programs are counter-productive. They make many unsubstantiated or over-blown claims, and the result is that, when young adults actually come into contact with drugs (and their apparently less-severe effects), it shatters the credibility of what they've been told.

Why not, instead, make the case that you'll act really stupid. And you'll embarrass yourself.

And another nice example: Busta Rhyme's appearance on Space Ghost. Want to be him?

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Did Darwin believe in God?

Insofar as it is Darwin's Big Year, and I've spent a few years studying him and his work, I figured I might post something useful. There's a largely creationism-fueled rumor that Darwin re-affirmed belief in God on his deathbed. I don't really want to argue with this claim, though it's been largely disproved. What makes the argument interesting is how, given the role that evolution is believed to have played in the secularization of Western society (particularly, Western Europe), the debate over Darwin's belief has very high stakes. And as a result, Darwin's faith is often discussed in either/or terms -- he believed in God or he didn't.

But the truth is much more complicated, and reflects the richness of human experience. Before Darwin went to sea on the Beagle, he was headed to seminary school. And this is often taken as an expression of how strong a Christian he was before he developed his evolutionary theory. But going to seminary, and becoming a pastor, was in the nineteenth century something like going to law school; Anglican churches were directly supported by a national tax, and hence, they were more like a vast civil service, and an excellent career option if you didn't want to go into business or medicine. The two best colleges in the country, Cambridge and Oxford, were still seminaries -- their primary educational mission, to teach future Anglican clergy. In practice, they also taught a lot of future heretics, scientists, Oscar Wildes, and Bishop Newmans, but these were secondary to that core mission.

So young Darwin, like most Victorians, was a casual Christian. Sure he believed in God, but his God was a bit like a numinous English pastor with whiter hair and a fond taste for port; I imagine him as something like William Paley but "more grand." What Darwin did have a passion for, was hunting and shooting things. In youth, he was more a latter-day Ted Nugent than Isaac Newton. But his interest in hunting soon translated into an interest in collecting bugs and other specimens, and this flourished when he went to Cambridge. Gentleman collecting was all the rage; see Pastor Farebrother of Eliot's Middlemarch for a finely-carved example of what Darwin nearly became.

When he set sail upon the Beagle, a four-year trip that would expose him to a wild variety of climates, ecosystems, and cultures, his perspective began to change. Part of this was the deep insight he gained into a nature that was (in Tennyson's words) "red in tooth and claw"--rather than the finely-wrought mechanism that Paley's God was supposed to have created. Darwin's horror, in realizing that nature was not the beautiful system of balance which he'd been taught to expect, is well documented. But his voyage also gave him extensive evidence of the violent animality of man; the brutal repression of native Americans in South America, the tribal war of the Fuegians, the behavior of the English toward the Maoris (as well as his negative impressions of the Maoris themselves). I think this fundamentally changed Darwin's impression of humanity; we were clearly not made in some divine image, but rather, advanced animals with larger brains and some moral capacity. You'd have to live in a rampantly progressive time when human virtues were trumpeted, and the various perfections of modern man extolled, in order to appreciate what a cruel joke all of that would seem after his experiences. As a result, Darwin became a very reluctant atheist. By this, I mean Darwin was hurt by his fall from faith, and preferred not to discuss or address it directly. I think it remained sort of a psychic wound for him -- the divine perfection of nature, after all, was what had originally ensnared him. Hence his deep need to affirm, at the close of The Origin, that "there is grandeur in this view of life."

At the same time, Darwin deeply loved his wife Emma, who was fervently religious. He thought she was a supremely moral woman, and respected her faith, although he couldn't bring himself to lie about his own. His lack of belief in God hurt her deeply. It was only after they'd lost Anne, their oldest daughter, that they made some kind of peace over this issue. After losing someone they'd loved so much, I don't think religious differences seemed quite so important.

So, no, Darwin did not believe in God. But he regretted it, and deeply respected religion. I think he would be as horrified at the anti-religious histrionics of Daniel Dennet and Christopher Hitchens as he'd be thrilled with how his evolutionary theories have developed.

P.S.> I've largely left out the immense influence which religious thinking and natural theology had upon his theory of evolution, because that's not really the point of the post. But if you'd like to do some reading on Darwin, James Moore and Adrian Desmond's biography Darwin is an supremely well-written and careful work. And it helps that they write like writers, not historians.
For a more personal examination of the impact of Darwin's experiences and theories upon our belief, and whether there is "grandeur" in this view, I'd recommend Darwin Loves You by George Levine. Levine is a literary scholar who's spent much of his life thinking about Darwin as a human and a writer--and he's developed an unmatched intimacy with Darwin's world.

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Friday Beer Blogging

I've been brewing again, getting ready for the wedding (The Talented Videographer suggested I make the beer). Yea, and little did she recognize the Beast when she saw it. I spent the next few weeks upgrading all of my equipment: built a mash tun, a 7-gallon boil system, a stir plate for culturing yeast starters, and a fermentation chiller that runs off a thermostat with a Peltier cooler that heats & cools, keeping my fermenting beer at a fixed temperature (the plans are here). Overkill? No such sauce.

Now I'm starting to brew experiments for the wedding beers. I'm figuring bride and groom signature drafts. For M, I've started a batch of raspberry wheat (Megaberry Wheat) and a Shiner "Cheer" clone -- a Maibock that's mashed with roasted pecans and lightly flavored with peaches (Yellow Rose). Next week I start the guy brews -- a sharp rye beer (Slacker in the Rye), and perhaps a Belgian Wit (Pithy Wit) or a doppelbock.

Anyway, here are some of the labels. I'd show you pics of the setup, but the documentarian has been too busy trying to save journalism (and I conveniently forgot how to take "photographs" when we moved in together.)

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The End is Nigh

(UPDATED -- See below)

Matt Yglesias posts Tyler Cowen's "No Profits Here" Hypothesis:

[T]here was some productivity growth but much of it fell outside of the usual cash and revenue-generating nexus. Maybe you will live until 83 rather than 81.5 and your pain reliever will work better. In the meantime you will read blogs and gaze upon beautiful people using your Facebook account. Those are gains to consumer surplus, but they don’t prop up the revenue-generating sectors of the economy as one might have expected.

Matt adds:

Good examples of this would have to include Wikipedia (which is hugely useful but doesn’t make anyone any money at all), Craigslist (which has revolutionized the way people do a lot of things but has done far more to destroy other firms’ revenue sources than to make money for itself), and much open-source software (where the absence of copyright-enforced monopoly profits make the product more useful, but less lucrative, than closed-source products).

The post hit me like a brick in the head -- because I suddenly understood what this implied for newspapers. Until now, I've been telling The Talented Videographer (who works for a major metro newspaper) to buck up; sure things are bad, but eventually, the newspapers will figure out a profitable model for going online and the ones that do (NYTimes, WashPo, HoustonChron) will survive. And my confidence was rooted in a general belief that the internet "revolution" was more an evolution -- a shift from print to digital economy that would only temporarily destabilize the growth of such industries.

What this argument suggests, though, is that the internet is revolutionary; that there are many areas where the internet may heavily decrease the amount of capital and economic activity a specific sector can support (e.g. advertising:Craigslist, encyclopedias:Wikipedia). And this, in turn means, that there may be no return to the heady days of print journalism -- with thousands of investigative reporters employed full-time across the country. We'll be left with AP, Reuters, and ten thousand bloggers -- and nothing else. And as much as I love blogs, you have to assume that investigative journalism will suffer (politicians and business leaders return calls if you're at a major paper, but a blogger? Click). I guess the next big question: will the public care when their dailies close? Will they notice an appreciable difference in lifestyle without this investigative citizen advocacy? I'm pessimistic.

On a side note, this was essentially David Simon's stated thesis with The Wire, except that he argued journalism had already died at the dailies. And as, according to Simon, "everybody missed" that central story, I'm not sanguine about the future of journalism.

Anyway, I emailed Matt, and he thinks that its the non-journalists at the papers who face extinction:

I’ve been writing about this on-and-off for a while but basically, yes, I think that part of the print-to-digital transition for periodicals will be a dramatic reduction in the total number of people earning a decent salary doing this stuff. But bleak as the outlook may be for news reporting as a profession, I actually think it’s the less reportery elements of the modern newspaper that will be in an even worse situation. In the not-too-distant future, I predict that we’ll have approximately zero professional movie critics. There’ll just be movie fans writing in exchange for the ability to attend critics’ screenings, and some kind of aggregator websites.

That makes sense; there's no reason, if all I want is an opinion, to rely on a newspaper -- blogs are faster and sharper. (Hence Dwight Silverman is considering starting an independent blog.) But even if I want my news from a journalist, will I be willing to pay for it? Where's the new institutional structure to house, train, and develop them? I don't think experience blogging--even at larger sites like Huffpo or Talkingpointsmemo--will suffice. The best journalist bloggers are bloggers who were trained and developed as journalists.

UPDATE: Dwight Silverman emailed me a cordial note to set me straight. While he'd consider setting up a indy blog IF (big if) he became a layoff victim, he's happy with his current situation (and who wouldn't be?). Goes to show that cocktail blog gossip ain't always the most accurate (see: Wonkette).

Oh, and in case Wonkette emails ... I really meant Rush Limbaugh.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Zadie Smith at Delphi

There's an amazing essay by Zadie Smith over at the New York Book Review. It's about Obama, and speaking in tongues -- that is, with many voices. Please read it for yourself, it's so sharply written it could prick your eyes, and it's equally smart.

But I was floored by this line:

"The idea that one should speak one's cultural allegiance first and the truth second (and that this is a sign of authenticity) is precisely such a deformation."

She's talking about Jesse Jackson and how some members of the Black community feel about dealing with their identity with regard to whites. What is stunning is how clearly and cleanly she expresses this, and how well it describes we're seeing in Rush Republicans right now. She attributes such "deformations" to living "through a bitter struggle, and bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways." So what was Rush's bitter struggle? Where was Michelle Malkin's, or Charles Krauthammer's great testing?

But what is so striking is how pithily she expresses the incoherence here -- authenticity is tied directly to willing distortion. You place party before truth in order to demonstrate how true you are.

That, my friends, is one wicked pen. I think I'll go drown the week in White Teeth.

P.S.> And I wholly agree that Obama draws freely from the James Baldwin fount. Who wouldn't?

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The "Democrat" Party

I was reading an article in the Washington Times about the Limbaugh CPAC speech, and as loopy as it sounded, it insisted that this was THE conservative speech of the year. This was seconded by Ross Douthat over at The Atlantic -- a sober-minded conservative who happens to be young AND think the Republicans are currently jumping off a cliff.

So I decided to watch the speech in its entirety -- and I'm about halfway through now. I was wondering if it would contain anything different from his radio show (which I listen to pretty regularly. Know thy shock jock.) But it's the same mix of COMPLETELY (and knowingly) misleading statements with an occasional dash of honesty. But I'll only take one thing up -- his insistence on using The "Democrat" Party. That says everything necessary about the essential lack of seriousness among these conservatives. Leave alone whether they have substantive disagreements on policy -- many wouldn't know because they're not even willing to recognize with any honesty the positions of their liberal opponents. They're not even willing to call them by their actual name. Name calling, as we all remember from our earliest years, is a synechdoche for stupid, threatened behavior. And if you're behaving like a toddler, you'll think like a toddler, and you'll sound like one.

What ALWAYS amazes me, is that every once in a while Limbaugh will make a true statement, i.e., "Obama is spending money he doesn't have -- he's spending wealth that has yet to be created" and there's NO applause. Then "He wants to get everyone in the soup kitchen. Why? Because he doesn't want them to learn what they need in order to succeed on their own" -- followed by rabid, slavering cheers.

What's striking to me, is that at some level, I don't think any of them believe that last statement. They know he's doesn't really want people to stay ignorant and poor. But another part of them directly conflates what they see as the outcome with his own desires. Hence the childishness.

In psychology they talk about a developmental transition called "the mirror phase." In it, the child comes to recognize that those other creatures (mommy, daddy, puppy) are independent entities--they are not extensions of the kid, but creatures with distinct thoughts, feelings and desires, creatures that don't feel or think the same way. Rushlimbaughian rhetoric can only work if Republicans are able to turn that insight off. Hence the screaming scrum of toddlers. "He agrees with us, because everyone thinks the same way, because we are right. So if he says that, he must want to destroy America. And the Jonas brothers were teh awesome last night."

P.S.> I realize many Republicans felt that the Obama fanatics thronging at his campaign events were the same way -- swept to sea in a teenagery cult of personality. But CPAC isn't a bunch of fans. It's the best and brightest conservatives have to offer -- the leaders, the luminaries, the lucid. And this is what the sober conservative adores and respects.

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Sunday, March 1, 2009


I just read a great article about Newt Gingrich in today's NYTimes Magazine. It reminded me that there are still plenty of people in the Republican party who are coming up with new ideas (even if they aren't all that good) and I worried for a bit that the party as a whole might get behind one of them.

And then I watched this clip of Limbaugh, addressing the CPAC conference yesterday:

I'm trying to think of an appropriate analogy. It's as if there's an auditorium full of awkward teenagers wearing their caps and gowns, who've spent years weathering the acne and pubic hair storm, who are getting ready to set off for college, and are just starting to settle some of this new adulthood on their shoulders to see how it feels -- and Bart Simpson walks in, grabs the mic, and yells "F*CK THAT. Let's go play video games." And it's just so reassuring and familiar, that they happily follow, tromping along, ditching their clothes, as he leads them to the video arcade out at the mall. God Bless you, Rush.

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