Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
⇒Linked articles in bold purple
◆ After a bruising battle over Betsy DeVos for Sec. of Education (DeVos was finally confirmed), The Hill reports “Democrats seek new targets“
Comment: Seek and ye shall find. Next in Chuck Schumer’s sights is Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the nominee for Attorney General. Then Scott Pruitt for the EPA, Dr. Tom Price at HHS, and Andy Puzder for Labor. The Democrats will drag these out and then lose the votes. The electoral-politics question is whether these slash-and-burn tactics build their base or simply please the existing one.
Republicans say, rightly, that these Democratic tactics play to that party’s activists and donors and that the minority party can only delay, not stop, the nominations.
Democrats say, rightly, that they oppose these candidates because of profound policy differences. These nominees will directly attack core Democratic policies; it is hardly surprising that the constituencies built around them are fighting like feral cats.
◆ Related story: Democrats show fierce anger at Republican lawmakers in town halls (The Hill)
◆ “Homeland Security Chief Admits Travel Ban Was Rushed” (NYT headline)
◆ This is the kind of innovative cost-savings the private sector can bring to government (The Postillon, Link here)
Giving a good answer to a ‘Why?’ question is not just a philosophical abstraction. An explanation has cognitive, real-world functions. It promotes learning and discovery, and good explanatory theories are vital to smoothly navigating the environment.
Results from psychology . . . expose a striking similarity between children’s and scientists’ explanatory reasoning. Both children and scientists look out in the world, trying to find patterns, searching for surprising violations of those patterns, and attempting to make sense of them based on explanatory and probabilistic considerations. Children’s explanatory practices offer unique insight into the nature of good explanation. –Matteo Colombo, writing in Aeon
◆ “Paul Ryan says Obamacare replacement bill will be completed this year” (Reuters via CNBC)
Doing that, major tax reform, and something permanent about immigration–all of them demanded by Trump voters–will strain the White House and Congress to the limit, especially because the Democrats will fight them hard.
◆ The World Foremost Authority, Prof. Irwin Corey, has died, still speaking gibberish at age 102 Prof. Corey was a staple of variety shows in the 1950s and 1960s, his disheveled hair pointing in all directions as he mumbled academic-sounding phrases that went nowhere (but pointed the way toward post-modernism).
The high-point of his career, at least for us academics, was when he fooled the 1974 National Book Awards into thinking he was Thomas Pynchon, accepting the award for Gravity’s Rainbow.
No one in the crowd had any idea what the reclusive Mr. Pynchon looked like, and when Mr. Corey arrived to accept the award for him (the novelist had approved the stunt), many people thought they were getting their first look at Mr. Pynchon.
They soon learned otherwise. Beginning his remarks, as he often did, “However,” Mr. Corey referred to the author as “Richard Python” and said, “Today we must all be aware that protocol takes precedence over procedure.” He continued: “Marx, Groucho Marx, once said that religion is the opiate of the people. I say that when religion outlives its usefulness, then opium will be the opiate. Ah, that’s not a bad idea.” —NYT obituary for Prof. Irwin Corey
Here is a 1-minute glimpse of Prof. Corey doing his shtick.
♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ David Wayne Henley for the IKEA border wall
◆ Harry Bushwitz for “Why Children Ask Why?”