Political Animal

Republicans Finally Stand Up For Gay Rights!

REPUBLICANS FINALLY STAND UP FOR GAY RIGHTS!….Fox News reports that Republicans ? well, “one Republican” anyway ? is outraged over Pete Stark’s homophobic outburst last week:

“‘You little fruitcake, you little fruitcake, I said you are a fruitcake,'” [Rep. Kenny] Hulshof, R-Mo., read from the unofficial transcript.

Stark directed the word ? considered by some to be a gay slur ? at Republican Rep. Scott McInnis, who is married and by all accounts not gay.

Republican sources also claim that during the chaotic scene in the committee, Stark fired another gay slur in the direction of Chairman Thomas. The word is too vulgar to print in full, but the last half of it is “sucker.”

Now, one Republican wants to know where is the outrage at the Democrat for his seemingly intolerant remarks.

Oh please. Everybody knows that “cocksucker” is just a codeword that allows baseball managers to be ejected from games. And “fruitcakes” ? well, those are the guys with the tinfoil hats, which seems to be a fairly accurate description of Bill Thomas, the guy it was directed at. In fact, apparently even Republicans are now “quietly whispering” that perhaps Thomas is something of a fruitcake.

And who is this Republican who’s so eager to see a gay slur in all this? Why, none other than Palm Beach congressman Mark Foley, who, as we all know, is a wee bit sensitive about the proposition that being gay is a slur. Time to get a new schtick, congressman….

Paul Krugman at Play

PAUL KRUGMAN AT PLAY….I don’t really have any good reason for posting this, but since all us liberals love Paul Krugman, I thought I’d post this picture of what he looks like when he’s not writing shrill and wildly unfair attacks on Republicans for the New York Times.

Anyway, that’s PK and his wife Robin on their vacation this year, a walking tour of France. Doesn’t he look relaxed? And like a really nice guy too? Don’t you wish you could take an economics class from someone like him?

And yet conservatives seem to hate him so. I guess appearances can be deceiving….

UPDATE: uggabugga has the real story behind Krugman’s vacation.

Telemarketing Schizophrenia

TELEMARKETING SCHIZOPHRENIA….Tyler Cowen, who consistently writes posts over at the Volokh Conspiracy that I have a hard time making sense of, has one today about a possible downside of the telemarketing Do-Not-Call list recently started up by the federal government:

Take those people who have put themselves on the list. Do they really not want to be called? Maybe they are afraid that they really like being called. That they will buy things. That they will be impulsive.

Arguably those people have a rational controlling self, and an impulsive buying self, to borrow some language from Thomas Schelling. Why should we assume that the rational controlling self is the only one who counts (do you really want a life devoid of spontaneity?)? Why should our government be in the business of altering this balance in one direction or the other? Isn’t the market a better mechanism for balancing the interests of the conflicting selves?

I’d venture to guess that on virtually every subject imaginable a lot of us have conflicting feelings. Every once in a while I feel like killing someone, for example, but I’d just as soon not let the market sort out my conflicting feelings on that. (Actually, more to the point, I’d just as soon not let the market sort out your conflicting feelings on that.)

Anyway, to answer Tyler’s question: yes, that’s exactly right, and it’s why telemarketers hate the Do-Not-Call list. It’s well known in the sales world that people with low sales resistance go out of their way to try and avoid salespeople, and those are precisely the people you most want to talk to. The telemarketers are well aware that the Do-Not-Call list is going to cost them millions of their very best prospects.

I think I can live with that. Unfortunately, via the Conservation of Annoyance Law, I imagine they’ll make up for it through a massive increase in internet pop-up ads or something similar….


SQUAWKING….I skimmed through the paper pretty quickly this morning without finding an awful lot of interest, but for fellow Californians ? or anyone interested in random political idiocy ? a bunch of Democratic legislators had a nice long discussion yesterday about deliberately holding up the California budget because it might help them politically. Unfortunately, they were talking into a live microphone:

The conversation was transmitted to roughly 500 “squawk boxes” around Sacramento that political staff, lobbyists and reporters use to listen in on legislative proceedings.

….”Since this is going to be a crisis, the crisis could be this year,” Goldberg said, according to a transcript. “No one’s running [for reelection]. And maybe you end up better off than you would have, and maybe you don’t. But what you do is you show people that you can’t get to this without a 55% vote.”

….After about 90 minutes, a staffer interrupted to alert lawmakers that their meeting was not private at all:

“Excuse me, guys, you can be heard outside,” an unidentified staff member said.

“Oh [expletive], [expletive],” Goldberg said.

“The squawk box is on,” the staff member said. “You need to turn it off right there.”

“How could that happen?” Goldberg said.

I guess the advanced technology of a “squawk box” was a little too much for them.