Archive for Media Morons

Like An Apocalyptic Novel

Do you enjoy that sort of beach read? Earth is being invaded by aliens or the US is about to be attacked by The Evil Empire, that sort of thing? Well, I had an odd day yesterday. I had a relative undergo an unpleasant surgical procedure, and the world being what it is, he was sent home with some lame pills and a lot of pain. I sat up and watched the news while he dozed. And I gotta tell you, it was just like one of those fun novels. We have an invasion of adorable little kids on our Southern border. People are comparing it to Katrina, because the kids are sick and alone and jammed into filthy holding cells, without access to showers. There is lice and diarrhea, as well as chicken pox and god knows what else. Katrina was caused by Mother Earth, of course, but this is due to unbelievable incompetence. Stunning Stupidity. We don’t have an award that glitters enough to reward the horrible ineptitude of the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, Iraq is being overrun by people that are busily chopping off heads, etc. Americans are being evacuated and our allies are going to be murdered. Think bloodbath. And there’s the little matter of freeing five al Qaeda terrorists, one of whom helped to plan the 9/11 attacks.

And what do we think will happen in Afghanistan? That’s going to be something we all be proud of!

Finally, I learned last night that King Hussein of Jordan is flipping out. The same freedom fighters who are busily conquering Iraq have publicly stated that they are coming for the Hashemite Kingdom. And Israel.

Is there anyone left who still defends the Obama administration? I just have a question for them: How’s Obama’s golf game? Has he had a chance to get away recently?

- Aggie

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Is This Serious?

I can’t tell, but I think so:

If there’s any suspense left about the Democratic primary in 2016, it largely revolves around whether an economic populist will challenge Clinton from the left. The prospect of Elizabeth Warren entering the race tantalizes many liberals. But since Biden’s not an anti-Wall Street crusader, his potential candidacy sparks barely any interest at all. That’s too bad. While a Warren candidacy would spark one valuable debate inside the Democratic Party—about government’s role in the economy—a Biden candidacy would spark another: about America’s role in the world.

Laughingstock, you mean.

Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden represent opposite poles. Hillary’s a 1990s-style hawk. Although she and Bill came of age during the movement against Vietnam, they both grew far more comfortable with American military force during his presidency. In her first memoir, Clinton describes having supported America’s interventions in both Bosnia and Kosovo. As first lady, she lobbied for Bill to appoint Balkan hawk Madeleine Albright as his second-term secretary of state.

If Hillary’s a hawk, I’m Anastasia, Czarina of Russia. Ask Chris Stevens if she’s a hawk. Ask the missing girls in Nigeria.

Biden’s worldview, by contrast, is more shaped by what came before and after the Clinton years. In a 2012 interview with James Traub, he mentioned his reverence for George Kennan, who for decades during the Cold War warned that global containment was producing American overstretch. Traub notes that Biden’s “foreign-policy heroes—men like Brent Scowcroft and James Baker—are, in effect, Kennan’s sons.” Scowcroft and Baker, it’s worth remembering, resisted the intervention in Bosnia that helped make Clinton a hawk. Nor did not they pursue Saddam Hussein’s ouster at the end of the Gulf War, something to which Bill Clinton committed himself in 1998.

Leaving Saddam in power was a good idea? That was typical of Baker’s corporitist attitude toward American might. Why solve a problem once and for all when it can be managed? If Iraq had to suffer another decade under the Saddam and his boys, so what?

Although Biden, like Clinton, supported the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq…

Okay, I’m done. What are we even arguing anymore? [bleep] the author for wasting as much of my time as he did. And [bleep] me for wasting yours.

A Biden candidacy…give me a break. Pull the other one, as the Brits say, it’s got bells on.

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Joe Klein Tells The Truth About Fox News

- Aggie

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Sick Administration [Update]

John Kerry says Israel risks becoming an apartheid state On Yom haShoah.

This is in the British press, presumably because the Democrats need Jewish voters in America. I wonder if the NY Times or NPR will report these remarks?

Israel risks evolving into an apartheid state if it fails to negotiate a two-state solution with the Palestinians to end the historic Jewish-Arab conflict, John Kerry, the US secretary of state has warned.
The highly inflammatory remarks, which seemed certain to provoke an angry reaction from Israeli leaders, followed last week’s near collapse of American-brokered peace talks, which Mr Kerry has energetically promoted.
Speaking at a meeting of senior international figures last Friday, America’s top diplomat said it was essential to pursue the two-state solution – commonly defined as Israel existing alongside a sovereign, independent Palestine – to avoid dire consequences.
“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative,” said Mr Kerry, according to the Daily Beast, which broke the story. “Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second class citizens – or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.” His remarks were made during a closed-door session of the trilateral commission, which included senior US, Western European, Russian and Japanese officials.

Know what is an Apartheid State? The wanna be state of “Palestine” which has an official no Jew policy. Saudi Arabia, our dear friend. Heck, are there any Arab states that aren’t apartheid?

Let’s look closer to home. Why doesn’t Kerry venture into any of the all-this-or-that areas of the United States? Who is he to criticize Israel? Just another Leftist windbag. I certainly hope that some of the MSM deigns to report Kerry’s antisemitic comments, along with the context that Israel pulled out because Abbas’s Fatah joined the genocidal Hamas organization. Or maybe our government prefers Genocide to Apartheid?

Update: Just to be clear, the Obama administration is calling Israel a potential apartheid state. So those are the choices: either negotiate with genocidal maniacs or be called names by the American idiots.

- Aggie

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Who Did ObamaCare Hurt The Most?

Interestingly, my husband and I were having this conversation this morning. I was opining that the Obama administration has hurt self-employed people, very small businesses, and construction related workers – whether they are engineers or guys running cranes. I say this is true for the entire administration, beginning with Shovel Ready Projects.

Now there is evidence that the largest class of victims of ObamaCare are some of these same “folks”.

A new study in the journal Health Affairs by Benjamin D. Sommers, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, provides fresh details on people who lost coverage on account of Obamacare, a group that may have totaled nearly 5 million Americans. But the majority of those people probably would have switched insurance anyway in 2014, even without the new law, according to the study. Most of them probably got new policies, so they’re covered now. And many switchers who got a new policy through one of the healthcare exchanges set up under Obamacare probably got a better deal than they would have before the law.

But there are three subsets of people whose policies were canceled and who are likely to end up as losers under Obamacare — people who are self-employed, over 35, white, or some combination of all three. People in this smaller group were far less likely to switch policies on their own, since they were generally happy with their coverage and less likely to change their employment status, one big reason people typically drop an individual policy. For this group, “cancellations related to the ACA represent an unwanted change in coverage options that may be quite disruptive,” the Health Affairs study concludes.

Yes. That is the group that was hurt the most by this administration. The beauty of it is that as they tighten their belts, refuse to spend, the “recovery” languishes. Because what goes around comes around.

Here’s one guy who makes my point:

Jim Stadler, a 50-year-old freelance writer who lives outside Charlotte, N.C., got a notice from his insurer last fall saying his family’s policy would be canceled because it didn’t meet all the new requirements under the ACA. Stadler was happy with that policy, which kept costs down and provided access to good doctors. After several fits and starts, his insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, was able to offer a similar policy — but the premium rose from $411 per month to $540, a 32% increase. “I’m giving an insurance company money I could be spending on groceries or durable goods or other things,” says Stadler. “I’m paying more, and for what, I don’t know.”

And here we find out that Obama targeted political opponents, although journalists refuse to believe it:

The biggest Obamacare losers are people who lost their insurance but are unlikely to qualify for subsidies through one of the new exchanges, which require an income of less than $47,000 for an individual or $95,000 for a family of four. So they’re the ones who lost coverage and probably have to pay more for a new policy, even if they enroll through an exchange. Some people who lost coverage report paying twice as much for a new policy, or more.

It just so happens those demographic groups hurt most by Obamacare tend to be Obama’s political opponents. Whites are more likely to say they’re Republican than Democrat, by 34% to 28%. People under 35 — one group more likely to benefit from Obamacare — lean strongly toward the Democratic party, while that edge evens out among people over 35. And among small-business owners — a big chunk of people who consider themselves self-employed— Republicans outnumber Democrats by as much as 3 to 1. Stadler, for one, voted for Obama in 2012 but has since helped promote anti-Obamacare campaigns.

They (and their journalistic lap dogs) deny the connection:

There’s no reason to think Obama and other backers of the ACA deliberately targeted Republicans when they made decisions that would determine winners and losers under the health reform law. It seems more likely Obamacare architects, thinking in broad, public-policy terms, simply failed to anticipate the firestorm that would erupt over canceled policies. To many of the law’s drafters, the ACA would bring a net improvement in healthcare coverage. And those who ended up paying more, they reasoned, would be getting better insurance.

So, in other words, this journalist is calling Obama, and they people his administration hired to do this work, idiots. They are saying it nicely, but they are saying it. And I say: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

- Aggie

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Fatah, Hamas One Terror Organization

Israel cancels “terror talks” or “appeasement talks”.

Israel cancelled a planned meeting Wednesday night with Palestinian officials over extending the negotiations in an apparent response to the earlier announcement of a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.

In recent days Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat have met on several occasions looking for a way to extend the talks past next Tuesday’s deadline.
The decision to cancel Wednesday’s meeting came after a meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office dealing with the Hamas-Fatah move, and how Israel should respond.

Israeli politicians criticized Abbas and were skeptical about the future of the negotiations following Wednesday’s announcement of the plareconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that the Palestinian Authority had turned into a terrorist organization following the Fatah-Hamas agreement.

“We don’t talk to murderers,” Bennett stated. “The agreement between Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad brings the Middle East to a new diplomatic era. The Palestinian Authority turned into the largest terrorist organization in the world, 20 minutes from Tel Aviv.” According to Bennett, Israel shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists, just as the US does not talk to Hamas, Islamic Jihad or Al Qaeda.

How soon before the Banana Republic of the United States demands that Israel enter appeasement talks with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. One day? One week? What do you think?

- Aggie

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Another Reason To Hate The Military…

Some of them are talking about Benghazi

As usual, if you want to know what happened in the US, read the British press. We are such a banana republic.

Benghazi attack could have been prevented if US hadn’t ‘switched sides in the War on Terror’ and allowed $500 MILLION of weapons to reach al-Qaeda militants, reveals damning report
Citizens Committee on Benghazi claims the US government allowed arms to flow to al-Qaeda-linked militants who opposed Muammar Gaddafi
Their rise to power, the group says, led to the Benghazi attack in 2012
The group claims the strongman Gaddafi offered to abdicate his presidency, but the US refused to broker his peaceful exit
The commission, part of the center-right Accuracy In Media group, concluded that the Benghazi attack was a failed kidnapping plot
US Ambassador Chris Stevens was to be captured and traded for ‘blind sheikh’ Omar Abdel-Rahman, who hatched the 1993 WTC bombing plot

The Citizens Commission on Benghazi, a self-selected group of former top military officers, CIA insiders and think-tankers, declared Tuesday in Washington that a seven-month review of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack has determined that it could have been prevented – if the U.S. hadn’t been helping to arm al-Qaeda militias throughout Libya a year earlier.

‘The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,’ Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told MailOnline.

She blamed the Obama administration for failing to stop half of a $1 billion United Arab Emirates arms shipment from reaching al-Qaeda-linked militants.
‘Remember, these weapons that came into Benghazi were permitted to enter by our armed forces who were blockading the approaches from air and sea,’ Lopez claimed. ‘They were permitted to come in. … [They] knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed..

‘The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this.’

The weapons were intended for Gaddafi but allowed by the U.S. to flow to his Islamist opposition.
The Citizens Committee on Benghazi released its interim findings on April 22, 2014 in Washington. Pictured [at link] are (L-R) Clare Lopez, Admiral (Ret.) Chuck Kubic, Admiral (Ret.) James ‘Ace’ Lyons, former CIA officer Wayne Simmons and civil rights attorney John Clarke

‘The White House and senior Congressional members,’ the group wrote in an interim report released Tuesday, ‘deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler [Muammar Gaddafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qaeda.’

‘Some look at it as treason,’ said Wayne Simmons, a former CIA officer who participated in the commission’s research.

Retired Rear Admiral Chuck Kubic, another commission member, told reporters Tuesday that those weapons are now ‘all in Syria.’
‘Gaddafi wasn’t a good guy, but he was being marginalized,’ Kubic recalled. ‘Gaddafi actually offered to abdicate’ shortly after the beginning of a 2011 rebellion.
‘But the U.S. ignored his calls for a truce,’ the commission wrote, ultimately backing the horse that would later help kill a U.S. ambassador.
Kubic said that the effort at truce talks fell apart when the White House declined to let the Pentagon pursue it seriously.
‘We had a leader who had won the Nobel Peace Prize,’ Kubic said, ‘but who was unwilling to give peace a chance for 72 hours.’

More at the link, including names and pictures of committee members. Then, take the Aggie Challenge! Go to the NY Times and the Washington Post and see if you can find any mention of this. BTW did you notice that those weapons are now in Syria? If this President and his administration had declared their intent to allow the murder of as many Muslim civilians as possible, they couldn’t have done a better job. How many have died in Syria? How ’bout The Arab Spring™? Libya? Various drone attacks on wedding and such-like. You can see why they might not care for us.

- Aggie

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Your Nuanced Boston Glob

Time was, they called us “Holocaust deniers”:

I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.

That was seven years ago—seven un-warmed years—from Gob columnist Ellen Goodman.

This is today:

By the time all the skeptics are persuaded, it will be too late for an effective response. In that regard, climate change poses a test of our democracy’s ability to address a threat pressing enough to require a relatively prompt response but too complicated for a lay person to assess on his own authority.

Liberalism distilled to its evil essence, Bloodthirstani. Look upon it and recoil.

In the name of “democracy”, we have to act on behalf of the great unwashed, riding roughshod over “skeptics”, by “addressing” and “responding” to a “pressing” threat. Substitute almost anything for global warming—health care, income inequality, doesn’t-matter-anything-they-want—and they would cite the same pressing threat requiring a response in the name of democracy.

Never mind the flat temperatures, the bitterly cold winter that froze the Great Lakes solid for the first time in years, the flawed and fraudulent “science”.

We have our marching orders:

THE WORLD now has a rough deadline for action on climate change.

Nations need to take aggressive action in the next 15 years to cut carbon emissions, in order to forestall the worst effects of global warming, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Fifteen years: that’s funny. That’s how long it’s been since the globe actually warmed.

[S]keptics have seized on a supposed 12- to 15-year pause in the increase in global average surface air temperature, as though that creates critical questions about the broad scientific consensus on warming. Actually, the likely explanation is that the oceans are absorbing the heat.

Thwarted by the complexity of the climate, climate scoundrels, sorry, scientists, are now appealing to a system perhaps even more complex, the world’s oceans. But this isn’t about the facts, and sure as hell not about science. Science doesn’t set 15-year deadlines. Science doesn’t ignore data contrary to a proposed theory. And science does not—ever!—cite a career political hack and former Mister Softee driver like Ed Markey as a credible expert:

As Senator Edward Markey, long a leader on this issue, puts it: “You can’t preach temperance from a bar stool.”

One thing we know for sure: it wasn’t Ted Kennedy who said that.

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Does Anyone Read the New Yorker Anymore?

As most of my favorite writers aged out or died off, I found it harder and harder to engage with their replacements. Then Bush got elected, and the place turned into a loony asylum for the criminally insane.

But this?

IT’S TIME FOR DEMOCRATS TO EMBRACE OBAMACARE

I can’t bring myself to read even a word, so I can’t tell you how he comes to such a conclusion, but here’s my Hail-Mary attempt to make sense of it: you can’t run from this steaming pile of dog excrement without its stink following you, so you might as roll in it. Put more gently, the Titanic is going down whether you play your violin or not, so you might as well fiddle while Rome burns. Or something. I told you it was a long shot.

Okay, let’s dip our toe in and see what the writer says:

Here’s a heretical idea. Rather than parsing the individual elements of the law, and trying to persuade voters on an à la carte basis, what about raising the stakes and defending the reform in its entirety as a historic effort to provide affordable health-care coverage to tens of millions of hard-working Americans who otherwise couldn’t afford it? Instead of shying away from the populist and redistributionist essence of the reform, which the White House and many Democrats in Congress have been doing since the start, it’s time to embrace it.

We’re saying essentially the same thing, but I think I put it better. Of course, it means embracing a crap law passed by deceit and fraud—and then walked back, step by step—for the “benefit” of fewer than half a million people to the detriment and dismay of millions, with tens of millions more to come.

But yeah, sounds like a good idea, Democrats. You go right ahead with your “redistributionist essence”. That should put you in good standing with the kind of people (if any) who read the New Yorker.

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¿Quien es Mas Macho?

I wrote recently about conservatives looking beyond politics to the culture of the country for impact and change. I cited Glenn Beck’s recent comments, as well as Mark Steyn’s.

Rush Limbaugh, too, has recently published two children’s books on American history to correct the corrosive effect of liberalism on young skulls full of mush.

Keep writing, Rush.

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In a very competitive field, Seth Meyers is making a strong case that he is the most liberal host in the late night game.

Like a little girl having Justin Bieber over for a tea party, Meyers slobbered over MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow during her appearance on his “Late Night with Seth Meyers” Wednesday morning.

“You’re like basically my dream woman,” the NBC host gushed at one point.

Doesn’t a “dream woman” have to be, you know, a woman?

Isn’t that Pajama Boy (aka Ethan Krupp)?

Of course, the next time I watch Seth Myers will be the first. I’ll get right to it—right after I watch every Seth Rogen film and every Family Guy (Seth MacFarlane) episode.

PS: And purchased a Seth Aaron Henderson design.

PPS: And reset every Seth Thomas clock.

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It’s a Long Story

I picked up my Sunday Boston Glob from my front walk this morning (looking like Tony Soprano in my bathrobe and slippers), and this was the front-page story:

She only wanted to change the world

Erin Willinger wasn’t going to be held back by her illness, not by anything. With much to fear, she was fearless. And then she was gone.

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Erin Willinger left Newton to search the world for purpose. Last July, she settled in Agra, India, marrying a local taxi driver. In February, he killed her and committed suicide.

Something’s wrong here. How does a local girl from Newton North marry an Indian taxi driver, only to die at his hands in a murder-suicide?

It gets wronger:

At Newton North High School, teachers imbued her with a healthy outrage at the world’s shortcomings. She leapt at a chance to travel to Cuba in her senior year, and was desperate to see more of this aching planet.

“I hope you realize, I’m never going to live here again,” she told her father just before she left for Vassar College.

“Are you going to put that in writing?” joked Andrew, who had been raising Erin on his own after he and her mother separated a few years before.

Despite her vow, Erin did come back for a time, after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her junior year at Vassar. She worried that her illness would define her, often telling her father she didn’t want to be known as “bipolar girl.” After her treatment, she went back to college — this time to Columbia — then on a journey that her father said was occasionally interrupted by her condition, rather than defined by it.

“I think she was doing what she was meant to do,” Andrew said.

I’m sorry, but that’s crap. I can’t possibly judge a man who’s lost his daughter—I’m only writing about this because I feel something terribly wrong has happened—but people with bipolar disorder are defined by their condition. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s a real thing.

There are other red flags, as well. What’s healthy at the outrage her teachers propagandized about the world’s shortcomings? If you want to help the people of Cuba, you go to Miami and work with the refugees from Castro’s gulag, not to Castro’s gulag itself.

Anyway, she saw plenty more of this “aching planet”:

Fluent in Spanish and French, Erin did an internship in Helsinki, working on human rights. After college, she visited the Czech Republic, Russia, Bolivia, Peru, Vietnam, Thailand, and other places. She traveled to rural Mali with an African dance class she’d joined in Cambridge. In e-mails, she said felt most comfortable in less developed countries, where there was little structure and no stigma about someone like her, where she felt no pressure to conform in order to do meaningful work.

She searched for purpose — in yoga, in Catholicism, and, on an extended stay in Israel, in Judaism. Eventually, she found her faith not in religion, but in connecting with people who needed help.

May I observe that I feel the presence of her bipolarity in this resume of her life and experiences? No proof, just a hunch.

Last July, just after her 30th birthday, she settled in Agra. Red-haired, with alabaster skin, she stood out there despite her jewel-toned saris. After her traveling companions moved on, she settled in with a local family, eventually beginning a relationship with their taxi driver son, Bunty Sharma. Sharma had a son of 6 or 7 and Erin felt sweetly and irrationally responsible for the child, and desperate for the kind of acceptance her illness had denied her elsewhere. So she married Sharma, over her father’s objections.

Erin Willinger was diagnosed with bipolar disorder while in college and she worried her condition would define her.

“I just thought it was crazy,” Andrew said. “And soon enough she thought it was crazy, too.” Shortly after they were married, Sharma revealed to Erin that he had served time in prison for killing someone. She left him, and began working on a divorce.

“I told her, ‘Don’t go a little way, leave town,’?” Andrew said. “And she just didn’t want to leave the work she had started. She was kind of stubborn.”

Erin saw the masses of tourists passing through Agra to see the Taj Mahal each day, and lamented the fact that the city’s poorest residents never benefited from them. If the city was more inviting, visitors would want to stroll around and spend their money beyond the monument’s walls, she figured. And so she began a movement to clean up the streets, modeled on a program she’d started in Israel. Andrew worried about Sharma, but Erin convinced him her husband was no threat.

It’s a lovely idea, but how can I focus on it when alarm bells are going off in my head? Moving in with a local family and marrying their taxi driving son? Playing step-mom to his boy? “Working on a divorce” after her “husband” admits to being a murderer, rather than getting the hell out of Dodge? Crazy doesn’t even begin to cover it.

“In the back of my mind I was always worried I was going to get a call in the middle of the night from the embassy,” he said. “I told her all the time she should come home and get a real job and get a normal life and she would repeatedly tell me, ‘That’s not very helpful, dad; I’m not going to do that.’?”

It is the loving burden of all parents — to raise kids and send them off into the world, hoping for the best, and dreading the worst. Most of the time, the dread is unfounded, merely an instrument of torture on sleepless nights. But for Andrew, those calls did come over the years, usually from somebody letting him know that Erin had had an episode, and needed treatment.

When the US embassy called at 6 a.m. on Feb. 21, the day after Erin’s triumphant press conference, he assumed she’d been hospitalized again.

No. Erin was dead. Sharma had stabbed her in his taxi and dumped her body by the side of a road. Then he went back to his apartment and blew up a gas canister, killing himself.

I’ll stop here, as we needn’t wallow in the understandable yet incomprehensible grief her father felt. There’s no one to blame, yet everyone’s to blame. Erin herself, who didn’t give her condition the respect it demanded—didn’t see her life and her choices as defined by her condition. Her father, who let her believe she could do what she was doing and not come to such an end. (To be fair to him, he sounds like he did do everything he could do, short of kidnapping his 30-year-old daughter.) Her “teachers” who imbued the outrage that led to so many of her bad decisions.

But most of all to the Boston Gob, and Yvonne Abraham, the author, for implying sense to senselessness. A girl whose bipolarity was as much a part of her as her red hair and “alabaster” skin, made a series of bad choices, most prompted by that condition. And she was murdered for it.

The Indian papers cast the murder as the story of a Bollywood-style romance gone wrong: A beautiful, educated American woman falls in love with an illiterate Indian taxi driver and their marriage goes sour, their two lives extinguished in a crime of passion.

That simplistic story line eats at Andrew. His daughter’s death was uglier than that, her life more beautiful. He wants people to know Erin stayed in India for a love far bigger than some treacly romance.

She stayed because she was fearless. And because she wanted to fix the world.

Did she fall in love? Did she want to fix the world? Or was she just off her meds? I’m sorry, but a “beautiful, educated American woman” from Newton North high school doesn’t get stabbed to death in her illiterate “husband’s” taxi and dumped by the side of the road in rural India unless something’s gone terribly, terribly wrong. Either someone should have saved her, or she was going to die—that’s the perverse moral of this story.

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What, Really, is the Point?

We barely notice Tom Friedman anymore, much less quote him. The other sages of the Times op-ed page, Kristof, Dowd, et al appear here more rarely still, if at all. The page has shrunk itself to insignificance.

About the only one who anyone notices these days is Paul Krugman. And that’s only because…

Well, have a look:

Yesterday, New York Times columnist and CUNY economics professor Paul Krugman had some very strong words about the position in Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s new poverty report that American welfare programs discourage work and “actually reduce opportunity, creating a poverty trap.” In fact, after contrasting the Ryan report’s view on poverty traps with some data on inequality and welfare states, Krugman resoundingly concluded that Ryan’s ideas were a total sham:

So the whole poverty trap line is a falsehood wrapped in a fallacy; the alleged facts about incentive effects are mostly wrong, and in any case the entire premise that work effort = social mobility is wrong.

Despite Krugman’s strong conclusions, however, Ryan’s views about US welfare policies and poverty traps are actually pretty mainstream – cited by people across the political spectrum as a big reason to reform state federal poverty programs. In fact, a New York Times columnist and Princeton economics professor expressed these widely-held views on the Old Grey Lady’s pages a mere two months ago:

But our patchwork, uncoordinated system of antipoverty programs does have the effect of penalizing efforts by lower-income households to improve their position: the more they earn, the fewer benefits they can collect. In effect, these households face very high marginal tax rates. A large fraction, in some cases 80 cents or more, of each additional dollar they earn is clawed back by the government.”

Even more, the Ryan report’s “poverty trap” analysis is based on the work of the Urban Institute’s Gene Steuerle’s (see p. 7 of the Ryan report), on whom the very same Princeton professor once wrote:

[I]t’s actually a well-documented fact that effective marginal rates are highest, not on the superrich, but on workers toward the lower end of the scale. Why? Partly because of the payroll tax, but largely because of means-tested benefits that fade out as your income rises. Here’s a recent discussion by Eugene Steuerle…

That professor, if you haven’t already guessed, was none other than Paul Krugman.

That could be called mailing it in, but he isn’t even licking the stamp. To have an intellectual debate, you need an intellect. This discussion is a waste of time. Krugman evidently did as much to earn his Nobel Prize in Economics as Barack Obama did for his in Peace.

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