May 1, 2014
Paul Ryan Can Fight for His Budget or Fight Poverty—but Not Both

Even if the Republican is sincere in his outreach to the poor, his spending plan would hurt the neediest Americans by cutting the programs on which they rely.
Read more. [Image: Yuri Gripas/Reuters]

Paul Ryan Can Fight for His Budget or Fight Poverty—but Not Both

Even if the Republican is sincere in his outreach to the poor, his spending plan would hurt the neediest Americans by cutting the programs on which they rely.

Read more. [Image: Yuri Gripas/Reuters]

March 18, 2014
"From what I can tell, the major substantive difference between Ryan and Obama, is that Obama’s actual policy agenda regarding black America is serious, and Ryan’s isn’t. But Ryan’s point—that the a pathological culture has taken root among an alarming sector of black people—is basically accepted by many progressives today. And it’s been accepted for a long time."

Ta-Nehisi Coates, on Paul Ryan’s comments on inner-city men.

December 19, 2013
The Fanfictionalization of Politics

Over the weekend, an anonymous writer launched a Tumblr imagining an X-rated tryst between congressional fitness buffs Aaron Schock and Paul Ryan. “Paul Ryan XXX"— subhed: "Things are getting steamy on Ways and Means …"—is not appropriate work reading, and it’s clearly intended as satire of a certain kind of fawning journalism both men have tended to attract (as well as, you know, as porn).
"He was obsessive about his personal fitness. He cared deeply about those close to him. He had an outstanding sense of humor, but he never resorted to jokes about others. His laugh could make any room come alive," the author writes of Ryan, in one of the milder passages. "And there was his intellect. His vision. His ability to see how things were possible that no one else could."
Here the writer gently mocks the conventions of the many thumb-sucking profile of Ryan—be sure to mention the vision thing—by using them for different narrative ends.
Still, the piece is clearly not journalism, or even satire per se. It is fanfiction, or fanfic, a type of writing by individuals who riff on someone else’s story or characters or very existence as an expression of their own creativity. Fanfic is a big deal in the science-fiction and fantasy-writing worlds. Some new-media journalists also have self-consciously turned to fanfic in the political arena for the fun of it in recent years, mocking themselves even as they unleash their inner E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey began as Twilight fanfic).
Read more. [Image: Screenshot]

The Fanfictionalization of Politics

Over the weekend, an anonymous writer launched a Tumblr imagining an X-rated tryst between congressional fitness buffs Aaron Schock and Paul Ryan. “Paul Ryan XXX"— subhed: "Things are getting steamy on Ways and Means …"—is not appropriate work reading, and it’s clearly intended as satire of a certain kind of fawning journalism both men have tended to attract (as well as, you know, as porn).

"He was obsessive about his personal fitness. He cared deeply about those close to him. He had an outstanding sense of humor, but he never resorted to jokes about others. His laugh could make any room come alive," the author writes of Ryan, in one of the milder passages. "And there was his intellect. His vision. His ability to see how things were possible that no one else could."

Here the writer gently mocks the conventions of the many thumb-sucking profile of Ryan—be sure to mention the vision thing—by using them for different narrative ends.

Still, the piece is clearly not journalism, or even satire per se. It is fanfiction, or fanfic, a type of writing by individuals who riff on someone else’s story or characters or very existence as an expression of their own creativity. Fanfic is a big deal in the science-fiction and fantasy-writing worlds. Some new-media journalists also have self-consciously turned to fanfic in the political arena for the fun of it in recent years, mocking themselves even as they unleash their inner E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey began as Twilight fanfic).

Read more. [Image: Screenshot]

December 13, 2013
How Paul Ryan Won the Budget War: In 1 Chart

The budget wars are over, and the austerians won.
They won despite being wrong about everything. We aren’t Greece. Austerity doesn’t help the economy grow. The bond vigilantes aren’t coming for us if we don’t cut Social Security. And there’s no magic debt tipping point, above which growth disappears. No really, there isn’t.
But they still won. They won because counter-cyclical fiscal policy is counter-intuitive. Because it’s easier to convince people the government needs to act like a household and tighten its belt now, rather than loosen it. And because there’s nothing Washington’s professional “centrist” class loves more than a bipartisan deficit deal—preferably one that cuts Social Security and Medicare. As Ezra Klein points out, deficit reduction is the one thing that ostensibly neutral reporters can, and do, cheer for. As far as official Washington is concerned, it’s beyond argument that balancing the nation’s books is always good.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

How Paul Ryan Won the Budget War: In 1 Chart

The budget wars are over, and the austerians won.

They won despite being wrong about everything. We aren’t Greece. Austerity doesn’t help the economy grow. The bond vigilantes aren’t coming for us if we don’t cut Social Security. And there’s no magic debt tipping point, above which growth disappears. No really, there isn’t.

But they still won. They won because counter-cyclical fiscal policy is counter-intuitive. Because it’s easier to convince people the government needs to act like a household and tighten its belt now, rather than loosen it. And because there’s nothing Washington’s professional “centrist” class loves more than a bipartisan deficit deal—preferably one that cuts Social Security and Medicare. As Ezra Klein points out, deficit reduction is the one thing that ostensibly neutral reporters can, and do, cheer for. As far as official Washington is concerned, it’s beyond argument that balancing the nation’s books is always good.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

November 7, 2012

In Focus: Election Night 2012: Reactions in Photos

Late last night, as the outcome of the presidential election became clear, supporters of Barack Obama celebrated his victory, as his challenger, Republican nominee Mitt Romney, conceded the race and offered his congratulations. Obama won the popular vote by more than 2.5 million votes, and took the electoral vote by 303 to 206. Supporters of both candidates rode an emotional rollercoaster last night as results were slowly reported, ending in disappointment for some, elation for others, as Barack Obama now heads into a second term as President of the United States. Collected here are images from yesterday’s election, from here at home, and abroad.

See more. [Images: AP, Reuters,Getty]

October 11, 2012

The Internet Can’t Get Enough of Paul Ryan’s Curls

And neither can we.

4:11pm
  
Filed under: Paul Ryan Workout Photography 
October 11, 2012
Paul Ryan Beefcake Photos Released: Abs Remain Elusive

Paul Ryan has posed for beefcake photos in which he flexes his biceps while doing reps of what high school gym coaches nationwide call “curls for girls,” bicep curls that make your arms beefy for the ladies but don’t really make you stronger or better at sports.

Read more. [Image: TIME]

Paul Ryan Beefcake Photos Released: Abs Remain Elusive

Paul Ryan has posed for beefcake photos in which he flexes his biceps while doing reps of what high school gym coaches nationwide call “curls for girls,” bicep curls that make your arms beefy for the ladies but don’t really make you stronger or better at sports.

Read more. [Image: TIME]

September 6, 2012
How the Convention Speeches Played on Twitter

The line in yellow on the chart above shows the number of tweets per minute about the Democratic convention during Wednesday night’s session featuring Bill Clinton. In red, tweets per minute on the equivalent night of the Republican convention last week, featuring vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Clinton’s Twitter traffic peaked at over 22,000 when he finished speaking and President Obama joined him at the podium. Ryan’s speech, by contrast, barely topped 5,000 at its highest point.

Read more.

How the Convention Speeches Played on Twitter

The line in yellow on the chart above shows the number of tweets per minute about the Democratic convention during Wednesday night’s session featuring Bill Clinton. In red, tweets per minute on the equivalent night of the Republican convention last week, featuring vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Clinton’s Twitter traffic peaked at over 22,000 when he finished speaking and President Obama joined him at the podium. Ryan’s speech, by contrast, barely topped 5,000 at its highest point.

Read more.

August 30, 2012
"A major party’s nominee for national office apparently just doesn’t care that he is standing in front of millions and telling easily catchable lies."

James Fallows, on Paul Ryan’s GOP convention speech.

August 30, 2012
Paul Ryan’s Medicare Doublespeak

Before Paul Ryan had even wrapped his speech last night at the GOP convention, fact-checkers had their work cut out for them. The address repeated several misleading lines that have worked to great effect for the Romney campaign in recent weeks. Among them:
And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. […] Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama. An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for. The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it.
Ryan presents the $716 billion figure as an all-out attack by Obama against seniors. But what Ryan elides is that his own budget plan, which was passed by the House in 2011 and again in March of this year, contains the same exact cuts to Medicare.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Paul Ryan’s Medicare Doublespeak

Before Paul Ryan had even wrapped his speech last night at the GOP convention, fact-checkers had their work cut out for them. The address repeated several misleading lines that have worked to great effect for the Romney campaign in recent weeks. Among them:

And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. […] Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama. An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for. The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it.

Ryan presents the $716 billion figure as an all-out attack by Obama against seniors. But what Ryan elides is that his own budget plan, which was passed by the House in 2011 and again in March of this year, contains the same exact cuts to Medicare.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

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