"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
"...you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -- Steve Gilliard, 1964 - 2007

"For straight up monster-stomping goodness, nothing makes smoke shoot out my ears like Brilliant@Breakfast" -- Tata

"...the best bleacher bum since Pete Axthelm" -- Randy K.

"I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." -- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (1954-2015), They Live
Thursday, August 02, 2012

Yes, this is late, but....
Posted by Jill | 5:57 AM
There are many frustrations inherent in dealing with a workload that involves an impossible deadline, trying to get signoffs from a team where half or more of the members are taking their perfectly legitimate summer vacations, and navigating them through about eight new processes all coalescing at the same time. There's the obvious 80-hour workweeks, the sleep deprivation, the constant fighting of craving for carbohydrates that comes with said sleep deprivation, the constant heartburn that comes with drinking too much coffee in a vain attempt to combat the fatigue and brain fog caused by such sleep deprivation, and let's not even mention the possible health consequences. But one of the most grievous is that I simply don't have time to do the reading that I like to do in the morning.

These days my morning reading consists of about 20 minutes of the New York Times, mostly the front page stories and the op-ed section, a quick scan-and-purge of my mostly-spam e-mail, maybe a quick look at ONE of the blogs I used to read religiously.

And so it is that I would have missed the incredible and unlikely occurrence of Richard Cohen actually being right about something, in this WaPo column from this past Monday, where it not for Ken over at Down with Tyranny:

My boyhood friend Jack became a doctor — and a conservative. He had gone to public schools, attended college with the help of a government scholarship, went to medical school on the Army’s dime, and learned his specialty in military hospitals. He insisted that the government had done nothing for him. In that way, he is both the soul and the wit of the Republican Party.

It was in rebuttal to the Jacks of this world that Barack Obama earlier this month updated John Donne’s “No man is an island” by knocking the idea that individual success is always the product of individual qualities, such as industriousness: “Let me tell you something: There are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.”

This observation, so obvious you’d think it didn’t have to be stated, was then followed by what became a gotcha sound bite: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”


Of course, the president has nothing but truth and history on his side. Every schoolchild in my neck of the woods learned that the Erie Canal, which made New York truly the Empire State, was government-funded — $7 million appropriated at the insistence of Gov. DeWitt Clinton. The railroads did not come from nowhere and neither did the ports or the highway system. Government played a role. Government has always played a role. If it just got out of the way, the mindless mantra of the tea party’s heavy thinkers, we would all be in deep trouble.


Romney’s embrace of tea-party thinking is just ideological womanizing. (He won’t call in the morning.) While in Israel, he mentioned that one of the books that influenced his thinking on foreign affairs is “Start-Up Nation” by Dan Senor and Saul Singer. (Senor is one of Romney’s important foreign policy advisers.) It is a good book, mentioned favorably by me in a recent column, and it accounts for why little Israel has become such a high-tech giant. As always, there is no single answer. Large-scale immigration (mostly from Russia) contributed, and certainly the conversion from an essentially socialist economy to a capitalist one has made a huge difference.

But so has the government — in particular, the army with its own culture of innovation and intellectually elite units devoted to high-tech training and warfare. Graduates of these programs, having satisfied their military obligation, populate Israel’s high-tech sector — and, to Israel’s chagrin, America’s as well. Israel is the start-up nation because the government helped start it up.

OK, so the column to which Cohen links is a screed in which he opines that an Israeli strike on Iran would be a GOOD thing. And yes, Cohen is still the David Brooks of the Washington Post in terms of sheer idiocy, only with more warmongering on behalf of Israel. But when even a neocon shill like Cohen can get that no one creates a successful business in a vacuum, it's troubling that we have a Republican Party in which not one person understands that.


Bookmark and Share
Blogger PurpleGirl said...
John Scalzi has written the acknowledgement page for the ages about how we help each other in life.


Heartfelt and powerful. Read it. It's the answer to all those complaining about President Obama's statement about not having built by yourself.

Blogger Batocchio said...
I was a bit shocked to see Cohen write that, too. He writes about one good column per year.

(Alternatively, one could say that the core idea is so bleeding obvious even a moron like Richard Cohen gets it.)