"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Blogistan rising

Matthew Klam has a New York Times Magazine cover story on liberal bloggers that focuses on Wonkette, Talking Points Memo, and Daily Kos.

Lorrie Moore reviewed Klam's book Sam the Cat and Other Stories and it was surprising because Moore rarely reviews young authors, but as Emily White writes for Amazon.com, the two are similar:
His taut, spooky prose recalls another connoisseur of erotic disappointment, Lorrie Moore. But where Moore is partial to neurotic women, Klam's subject is the guy who wishes he could transcend himself and be redeemed from the small and angry America in which he's stuck.
One theme of Klam's article is that bloggers are in fact neurotic, or at least the successful are.
[Cox is] the daughter of a six-foot-tall blond Scandinavian goddess and one of the bright young men who worked under Robert McNamara in the Pentagon. Her parents split when she was 12, and she was shuttled between them, and like most kids who grow up that way, she made an anthropological study of what's cool. She was a loud, pudgy kid with milk-bottle-thick glasses, and when she finally settled into high school in Nebraska, she immediately ran for class president. She was thrown out of "gifted and talented" camp for weaving, drunk, through the girl's bathroom one night, and when she told me about it, she described it as "the story of my life": the smart girl getting booted out of a place where she belonged. She dropped out of a Ph.D. program in history at the University of California at Berkeley and found happiness for a few years at Suck.com, a snarky social-commentary Web site from the first Internet heyday.
[Marshall] wanted to be a writer, and he wanted to write about serious stuff, and he wanted to do it with a lot of passion. Marshall's mom had died when he was still in grade school, in a car accident, and he says losing her made it impossible for him to live without believing strongly in something. And he does: he is a guy whose waking state hovers right between irate and incensed, and for him those beliefs require action. Coming out of school, he had a love for history and a handle on American policy issues, and he figured the rest would be simple, job-wise, if only somebody would let him write. Marshall spent three years after his Ph.D. program working as an editor at The American Prospect, the liberal policy journal, and I got the feeling -- not so much from him, because he didn't want to talk about it, but from former colleagues -- that by the time he quit, he had decided that it would be better to starve than to work for someone else. So for a while he starved.
[Moulitsas] was born in Chicago, but moved to his mother's native El Salvador at age 4, and as the civil war there heated up in the 1980's, he remembers stepping over dead bodies. He only returned to Chicago after rebel soldiers passed along photos of Moulitsas and his brother to the family, an invitation to leave or lose their sons. Moulitsas speaks of himself, at the time of his return to Chicago when he was 9, as a tiny geek with a big mouth who couldn't speak English and who quickly learned to say things to bullies, in his heavy Spanish accent, that were just confounding enough for him to make a getaway before the bully realized he had been insulted.
Klam reports, "The Wonkette is more fun to read than Daily Kos. She's also more fun to hang out with."

He also writes that Mickey Kaus was the trailblazer. Kaus was a cheerleader for Clinton's "reform" of welfare and coincidently a new book on welfare reform recently came out. On August 26th, USA Today reported
The number of Americans in poverty and without health insurance each rose by more than 1 million in 2003, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. The median household income was virtually unchanged, but women lost ground against men for the first time since 1999.

The number of Americans in poverty rose by 1.3 million to 35.9 million, or one in eight people. The number of Americans without health insurance rose by 1.4 million to 45 million, or 15.6% of the population. Both sets of figures rose for the third-straight year.
I checked the archived entries of Kaus's blog that appear on the 26th and afterwards and he makes no mention of the steady increase in poverty.