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John MacFarlane on stuff, things

Navigating the obvious.

"Really, if the old Penn Station had not been knocked down, at best it would have ended up annoyingly subdivided into a mall, like Union Station in Washington D.C., because that is the only thing that America can think of to do with its vast public spaces anymore."
— 3 years ago with 7 notes
#usa  #transportation  #urban planning  #cities 
"The moral is clear. Republicans don’t have a mandate to cut spending; they have a mandate to repeal the laws of arithmetic."
Uninformed electorate, unaccountable politicians. Paul Krugman tells it like it is.
— 3 years ago with 3 notes
#politics  #usa  #economics 
"Discipline! Those careless poor people, frittering away taxpayer dollars on heat! Don’t they know these are tough economic times?"
— 3 years ago with 4 notes
#politics  #usa 
"Probably you have a lot of other things on your mind. Like money. Me, I spent last year working on a piecework contract rather than for a salary. That meant I got stuck carrying a big credit-card balance for several months, while my payment was in a very slow pipeline. People were not very quick about paying money for things last year. I bring this up because while I was carrying that balance, I mixed up my credit card with my ATM card one time, and so accidentally I took out a cash advance, which had a higher interest rate than the regular balance. When I called the credit-card company to tell them I wanted to pay off that high-interest balance first, they said I couldn’t. They had buried it at the bottom of the whole stack of other money I owed them, and the only way to get to it was to shovel away the entire low-interest balance first. So until I finally got enough cash to pay off the full balance, that cash advance just sat there, bleeding extra interest. But afterward, Congress—this crappy, infuriating, do-nothing Congress, this Congress that every single American despises—outlawed that scam. Credit-card companies now are required to pay down your highest-interest balances first. Maybe this is because Congress is a bunch of socialists trying to murder our free-enterprise system. Go ahead and vote for your Tea Party if you feel that way."
— 3 years ago with 9 notes
#usa  #politics  #business  #democracy 
"I talk about my 29 years in solitary as if it was the past, but the truth is it never leaves you. In some ways I am still there"
— 4 years ago with 16 notes
#usa  #prisons  #biography 
Just North of Something Important - The false consensus march →

This is a pretty great contemplation of Jon Stewart’s upcoming event in Washington, centred around a few very reasonable and interesting critiques.

— 4 years ago with 7 notes
#satire  #politics  #ideology  #usa 
"Personally: if I get high, then drive, I’m not good. If I get high while driving, it’s gravy. It’s standing up between getting high and driving that does it."
I was reading Marginal Revolution and clicked a link about a “narcotics checkpoint” sign somewhere in the US, which led me to the 420 Tribune blog, and this article, which had this comment, which just seems spectacularly appropriate for a website about and for pot smokers.
— 4 years ago with 6 notes
#drugs  #usa 
"Mr. Stewart also promised to supply the crowd with signs if they did not bring their own, including as examples, “I Disagree With You, But I’m Pretty Sure You’re Not Hitler,” and “Take It Down a Notch, America.”"
— 4 years ago with 4 notes
#media  #politics  #satire  #usa 
How New York ‘Times’ Political Columnist David Brooks Manages to Be Both Irrelevant and Absolutely Essential -- New York Magazine →

Pretty good profile. I’m still right on the fence as far as loving or hating Brooks goes, but I think that’s pretty much the point.

— 4 years ago
#ideology  #usa  #media  #writing 
"The difference is, Bush could have done more with Katrina, but I don’t see what Obama can do with the Spill. He’s instructed: “Take personal command!” Should the President be our go-to guy on oil spills? “Express more emotion!” What is he, a head of state like the Queen, delegated to going places and looking concerned? He can try to pass some energy legislation, but both parties are in the pockets of Big Oil. Those few legislators who work for meaningful federal solutions are pilloried as “socialists.” God help us if we should attempt to slow the eagerness of corporations to consume us."
— 4 years ago
#energy  #politics  #usa 
The Tea Party Jacobins | The New York Review of Books →

A really good, very scary few-thousand-word analysis of the Tea Party movement, its origins and connections, the media, ideology and the future of democracy.

— 4 years ago
#politics  #ideology  #usa 
"Politically, I get the ‘let’s trip up the other side, make them fail’ strategy. But what’s more important, to win extra seats or to shape the most important piece of social legislation since the 1960s? It was a go-for-all-the-marbles approach. Unless they produced an absolute failure for Mr. Obama, there wasn’t going to be any political benefit."
— 4 years ago
#politics  #usa  #healthcare 
The Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged →

Frank Rich in the NYT on the Tea Party. He’s sort of responding, I think, to Ben McGrath’s great New Yorker article about that same “group” (if a loosely organised collection of smaller groups with different motivations can be called a group). There’s a growing recognition that the movement (ah, that’s a better word) isn’t just an easily-dismissed collection of kooks and conspiracy theorists. Not easy to dismiss, at any rate. Yikes.

— 4 years ago with 1 note
#usa  #politics  #ideology