PROSTRATING

Posted in Quick Hits on June 30th, 2015 by Ed

I have to throw myself at the feet of anyone who knows more about economics and international finance than I – what happens next now that Greece is defaulting on its loans?

I know that the current government is strongly anti-austerity, as is most of the population. I know that the Greek public wants to stay on the Euro somehow, although defaulting on the IMF loan and exiting the Eurozone should (on paper) make that impossible. The only situation I can recall from sort of recent history is the collapse of Argentina's currency and economy in the early 00s. However, in that case the debtor nation was not entwined in any international arrangement as complex, financially and politically, as the European Union.

It is well documented that when individuals end up in financial straits so dire that nothing they do will make it any better, defaulting becomes a more appealing option. "Fuck it, why not?" becomes a very appealing line of argument. If nothing helps, then in a sense nothing hurts either. To me it looks like Greece is heading toward a car accident and has decided its best strategy is to go limp and let the laws of physics take over.

So what happens next? With no political resolution possible and presumably no further deals with the IMF forthcoming, where does this put Greece six months from now?

THAT WORD, IT DOES NOT MEAN WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS

Posted in Quick Hits on June 29th, 2015 by Ed

Here at Gin and Tacos we adhere to the highest standards of journalism and morality. This requires an immediate apology and forceful correction when we make mistakes, as any journalistic enterprise is bound to make from time to time in the relentless pursuit of the truth.

Last week we mocked Bristol Palin for a second pregnancy while taking large sums of money to advocate abstinence. It turns out, though, that this pregnancy was planned. According to Bristol. So, to clarify: While getting paid to advocate abstinence, she got pregnant by some random guy for a second time. But she planned it that way. Thanks for clearing that up. Gin and Tacos regrets the error.

Actually, wait. Does she know what "planned" means?

She announced that the pregnancy was planned. Two sentences later she states "things did not go as planned." Then she refers to having "made a mistake." It's all very Palin – she literally can't keep her story straight for one three-paragraph press release / blog post. I predict a bright future for her as a grifter / presidential candidate.

That family is just insistent on checking every single White Trash box, aren't they. They won't be satisfied until Todd dies of a rabid dog bite and Tagg is seen driving the streets of Wasilla in a 1972 GMC Caballero.

SUPERPOWERED

Posted in Quick Hits on June 25th, 2015 by Ed

I'm tired of repeating this every few months, so rather than go through the whole spiel again I'll content myself to point out that it's positively staggering what a hack Scalia is. This dissent reads like they outsourced it to the comment section on Glenn Beck's website. I'd say this is no surprise but it is, a little. Apparently the residual idealism lurking deep inside of me wants to believe that our nation is led by people with at least a shred of shame and dignity. As it stands I'm not even sure Scalia is a person anymore. He may be a clutch of fusty marmots in a cheap black robe. They can make anything look human with CGI now.

SHORT HISTORY OF A TROUBLESOME WORD

Posted in Quick Hits on June 23rd, 2015 by Ed

In the wake of the President's use of "the N-word" in an interview with Marc Maron, I'd like to take this opportunity to encourage you to read Randall Kennedy's excellent 2008 book "Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word." Its appearance in colloquial English was not only much earlier than I previously knew (I believe he traces it back to 1580-something) but originally it wasn't used in a derogatory way. Instead it was just a colloquialism or casual pronunciation of "negro", which is borrowed directly from the Spanish and Portuguese word for black. In most languages with some sort of familial ties to Latin words with "neg-" exist to refer to darkness or the color black. In any case, its journey from a stigma-free reference to skin color to the Word We Dare Not Name is an eventful and interesting one that Kennedy does a thorough job of taking the reader through.

ETERNAL MYSTERY

Posted in Quick Hits on June 20th, 2015 by Ed

So for about the last 10 versions, WordPress has lacked a functioning "schedule post" feature. I've tried various plugins and recommended fixes, yet the content I tried to schedule to post while I was beyond the realm of internet access for the past few days did not post. Any WP users out there want to recommend a solution?

This seems like such a basic function. They can't get it right, though. It used to work (many versions ago) and then it stopped. It appears to be flummoxing everyone for some reason.

Here's a picture.

denali

IRRATIONAL

Posted in Quick Hits on June 17th, 2015 by Ed

A few months ago I talked about how conservatives and their antics are not funny because they always telegraph their punchlines – even the unintentional ones. When you know something is coming, humor potential is unlikely to be fulfilled. So when right-wing Californians started whining about how unfair it is that they can't use an unlimited amount of water to tend to their multi-million dollar estates, it was mildly amusing at best. Not ha-ha funny.

"I’m a conservative, so this is strange, but I defend Barbra Streisand’s right to have a green lawn," said Yuhas, who hosts a radio talks show and also has a home in Los Angeles. "When we bought, we didn’t plan on getting a place that looks like we’re living in an African savanna."

"I call it the war on suburbia," Brett Barbre, of Orange County’s Yorba City, said.

"It angers me because people aren’t looking at the overall picture," Gay Butler, an interior designer who the Post apparently interviewed while she was out riding her show horse (!) said. "What are we supposed to do, just have dirt around our house on four acres?"

Alright, someone using the phrase "It angers me because people aren’t looking at the overall picture" to OPPOSE water conservation is funny. Ha-ha funny, even. And the best part is that she will eventually get what she wants; when all the water is gone, then no one will have to do any rationing!

Of all the deficiencies in the American character, the insistence that profligate consumption is our birthright may be the most destructive. The inability to accept the concept of scarcity – of anything, in any context, ever – guarantees that we will become attached to ways of living that can't be sustained. For example, people will demand large, verdant lawns while living in a goddamn desert. Not only do we insist on being able to use whatever we desire, we get angry when we can't waste resources as an ostentatious demonstration of wealth.

Seems like a strategy that will work out well in the long run.

SLIPPED MY MIND

Posted in Quick Hits on June 11th, 2015 by Ed

Granted, I'm not the world's biggest basketball fan but am I the only person who reads stories about using the quarter-billion dollars cut from the University of Wisconsin system to build a new arena in Milwaukee and says, "Oh my god, I totally forgot that the Milwaukee Bucks exist"? Do they still have Jack Sikma? Lew Alcindor?

SLIGHTLY OVERSTATED

Posted in Quick Hits on June 4th, 2015 by Ed

Stopped to visit the Brown v Board of Education historical site in Topeka yesterday. The exhibits included a number of contemporary predictions about what would happen if the Court desegregated the schools. Suffice it to say many atrocities would befall Our Women and society as we know it would collapse. They predicted the same things reactionaries always predict at the slightest potential for change. You've heard them all. And I found myself wondering, How many times have we been promised these outcomes? Have the predictions ever come true?

Are there any examples of apocalyptic predictions – the kind that accompany issues like gay marriage, desegregation, etc. – that were anything less than wild exaggerations? Any example we can point to of the Pat Robertsons of the world warning us of dire consequences that kind of, sort of came to pass? The jury's still out on the whole "Repealing DADT will reduce the military to one furious gay orgy" prediction – Just give it a few years, it'll happen – but on others the record is complete. Neither gay marriage nor female suffrage led to the predicted collapse of civilization, after all. But maybe something else that I'm forgetting did.

DEADWOOD

Posted in Quick Hits on May 18th, 2015 by Ed

One of the most frustrating things about academia is that every department has one or two of these, and they refuse to retire so everyone is sitting around patiently waiting for them to die.

Please hurry.

DODGE THIS

Posted in Quick Hits on May 1st, 2015 by Ed

Every time I think the crazy can't be topped I end up eating my words, but please read the comment section on this story about the Texas National Guard being deployed to monitor US Army exercises in Texas and tell me where we could possibly go from here. If this isn't peak crazy, I hope I'm not alive when it comes.