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April 30, 2012


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I guess this can be sold as strengthening the traditional family.

My impression is that while it's not generally discussed this unfortunate economic aspect of family life "back in the day" was a regular part of what made family life "strong" back then (ahem).......

AKA "when life gives you lemons make lemonade".

(I doubt the old LaSalle actually ran that great......)

Sir Charles

"Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again . . ."

I almost posted that song recently. It's depiction of reactionary thinking is fairly brilliant.


As I read this analysis of the way Obama's taking it to Romney lately I get the impression Obama's probably learned a thing or two about campaigning from his years on the basketball court.

Round 2, from this afternoon.

kathy a.

i am totally lost with poulos' argument that the government would "own" his future. just cannot follow it at all.

there isn't any question that costs for college and graduate education have skyrocketed. one big reason is that education has been cut repeatedly from public budgets, so students now are expected to pay more of the cost themselves, there is less in the way of grants/scholarships/work study, and interest rates on student loans are enormously higher. also, back in the day, it was easier to get some kind of work to help cover costs.

i credit government assistance with helping me get through college and law school without crushing debt. this does not make me feel "owned" by the government. his thinking is just, um, rather self-absorbed and not exactly logical.

in combination with his earlier musings about what women are for, poulos sounds a lot like this guy i worked with one summer in the college plant department; we were doing inventory and moving things to a new location. that guy bragged that he was "pre-law," and told me i'd make a good legal secretary because i seemed kinda smart. last i heard, only one of us became a lawyer. (i also got to drive the big truck; he didn't know how to drive stick.)

so, why is poulos paid to write this dreck?


In the last three decades the only cost that has risen as fast or faster than healthcare is higher education, the most sure ticket to a career with a higher income.

Keep them sick and deny them good education.


(And then campaign in some perverse way suggesting this makes their lives better.)

kathy a.

oh, right. somebody thinks that's what readers want to hear.

but i imagine the very readers he seeks are ones who hire those big-ass all-profit law firms that caused him to drop out of law school because they wouldn't hire him for cushy summer law clerk jobs, thus dooming his prospects for making a gazillion in his first year out of law school.

seriously, the guy's so shallow that he could envision no other legal life for himself -- nothing but the money held any interest. so brilliant that it took him two years of law school to figure out he was no longer the big fish in a small pond. so saddled with the burdens of everyday life that he could take a year to write a novel after college, before deciding to grace law school with his own self. so bold and original that he needs to tell everyone that women are for baby-making. i think he should branch out to tech, and invent the 8-track tape.


Here's what Krugman had to say on the subject and the long-term ramifications for young people, most especially recent college graduates. For the life of me I can't imagine the picture of our country's future that dwells in the minds of the right, but picking up all the broken pieces doesn't seem to be of concern. War on women. War on the young. And numerous people who may never be in a position to retire.

kathy a. -- i think he should branch out to tech, and invent the 8-track tape. That line needed a bit of advance warning. :-) I don't recall ever reading someone describe his own brilliance before with such straightforward candor. Much dweeby.


I don't know what Forbes pays its "contributors" (probably not a lot), but Poulos seems to be making ends meet somehow. There are lots of unhappy lawyers; why should he be immune?

Sir Charles


As kathy points out, one can't help but be struck by the spectacular lack of imagination in our would be author. Seemingly the only meaningful life in the law would be to be a disposable drone in a large law firm. Actually. Poulos should have been right at home in law school with that attitude.

I do try and impress upon younger people from time to time the idea that law can actually be a rewarding career if one is willing to consider the possibility of serving clients well and not necessarily making ridiculous money as a newbie. But it seems an increasingly unfashionable idea.

The funny thing is that I have done precisely that and have ended up in an economic position that is pretty enviable. Hell, it's not big firm partner rich, but it pays well enough to be pretty damned comfortable -- all the while feeling useful as well.


The best law students are studying to make the world better, especially for the people caught up in the legal system. My daughter, two subjects off her LLB (she already has a BA in history), is working as a paralegal at the Legal Aid Commission, learning the ropes while she gathers her admission requirements. Of course, it helps that her aunt and grandfather are both (the right kind of) lawyers. My dad at 78 was a family solicitor, with a pro bono advocacy sideline, and still works part time for the Legal Aid Commission (he spcialises in parole hearings for indigent prisoners), and my sister, now a stipendiary magistrate, was a barrister with a strong criminal defence practice for many years. I think the family culture might have had something to do with it. And the tendency of my dad to refer to police, commercial lawyers and all prosecutors in fairly profane terms ;-).

kathy a.

emma, i long-distance heart your dad! best to your daughter, who sounds like she is headed on the correct path.

Bill H

"I think the U.S. remains the power of the future simply by default."

It would be pretty to think that a nation's fair treatment of people is indicitave of greater power, but I'm not sure what leads you to think so. It surely would not be our treatment of native peoples on the American continent during our westward expansion, or of the natives in the Phillipines, for instance.


the tendency of my dad to refer to police, commercial lawyers and all prosecutors in fairly profane terms


Sir Charles

Bill H.,

I don't think I made any such assertion -- I was using power here in its traditional, amoral sense. All I am suggesting is that the U.S., despite its marked levels of governmental dysfunction and distressing levels of inequality is likely to remain the world's dominant power for the foreseeable future because everyone else -- Europe, China, India, Russia, Brazil, Japan -- suffers from far worse maladies.

What I was suggesting with respect to China was that its government's fear of one lone dissident is indicative of a governing elite that understands at some level its continued struggle for legitimacy even as it provides prodigious levels of economic growth.

Bill H

And what do you think of our government's fear of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and the persistent "War on whistleblowers" pray tell?

Joe S

Bill H, There's a difference between a fear of a group of elites for their power and prestige and the overall power of a country or empire writ large. The power of the country or empire is defined largely by a combination of its economic, military and technological strength. The power of a group of elites has a different set of factors depending on prestige and whatnot as well as raw physical power.

Our government is afraid of whistleblowers (in my opinion) for two reasons: (1) it's embarrassing for the elites in the government in this area; and (2) there are some real ways in which American civilians and military could be hurt or killed due to secrets being revealed. The government's moves against the people you refer to reflect some combination of those factors.

Sir Charles

Bill H.

I think that there is a substantial difference between a member of the military leaking classified documents and a citizen protesting government policies.

I think a more illustrative and analagous comparison would be the response to the various "Occupy" movements and the protest at Tiananmen Square.


Bad news here: The American Prospect is facing dissolution and a bunch of very talented people unemployment. I wish they'd sent up the red flag earlier about their crisis. This probably explains the spartan and unappealing website as well as the pop-up ads in order to read online. Really hope this effort finds the underwriting it requires. A loss here would be unfortunate, especially in our current political climate.

Sir Charles


That is bad news. I just sent them $100. They have some talented people there and I hope they can continue in business.

Their web site redesign was a travesty. I actually go there less than I used to because of it. It's become one of the ugliest sites around -- but it really is worth the aggravation because it has such good people.


My bourgeois is showing I'm sure, but it strikes me that this was a mistake on so many levels. Dreadlocked white youngish males smashing stuff and breaking lots of glass in Seattle today. Solved approximately what? Just the photo-op we need at this juncture.

I will never understand the dynamic at work here. Never have. And this was not late night spring eve drunken and rowdy brick-throwing oops. Noble planned anarchism over the lunch hour instead. By the elder children of the 'dirty hippies' of course. [Read stinky, smelly, bratty and lazy]. Flip.

Hope this slips through the Fox news filter and no one will notice, but somehow I doubt it.

Like the 'Tennis' btw. Very very nice.

kathy a.

protests went similarly haywire in SF on monday night (a large group smashed window and cars, paintballed small businesses and a police station) and in oakland yesterday (violent clashes with police; marchers carrying shields with anarchy symbols; police car set on fire).

a lot of people sympathize with the 99% vs. 1%, and wish to limit the vast river of wealth and power flowing upward at the expense of the many.

smashing up your neighbor's property and confronting the police for sport does absolutely nothing to advance that cause. it only makes everyone voicing legitimate concerns in a peaceful way look bad by association. way to freaking go.

Paula B

nancy, kathy---that's why non-violent protests in the 1960s carried so much weight. the early civil rights protests, at least, were organized and participants were trained in non-violence so they wouldn't ruin a chance to advance a righteous cause.


My impression is that's also why the rioting that happened later in the 1960's damaged the whole civil rights enterprise (& liberalism generally).


About the violence in San Francisco: disgusting and SO misdirected as the area trashed is mostly smallish businesses and as sympathetic to the 99 percent as can be found in the city. Or maybe this was provocateurs.

I found the linked account highly plausible, but I can't swear it is true.

I usually take the attitude that a certain amount of testosterone fueled nonsense will accompany any genuine mass movement. Though you can try to build a culture that curbs it, you'll never completely stop it. But that doesn't make what amounts to malicious mischief praiseworthy or even political.


Unlike the WTO 'battle for Seattle' fallout, the news today was fairly positive unless you're the mayor who got rocks thrown through the windows of his home, miles from the scene of the protest.

No better than a drive-by shooting, of course. And just as dangerous.

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