Spreadin’ Love

I'm too depressed to talk about last night's Gubernatorial race in New Jersey. Here's an interactive map, which shows the devastation.

David Brooks' column about technology killing romance and leading to a hook-up culture was classic, grouchy grandpa writing. I'm glad that Ezra Klein responded.

Dooce put in a community section into her blog. Guess it's bringing in a lot of people.

How to use an apostrophe.

I'm equally interested in the book reviews of Pioneer Woman's new cookbook and of the book of de Tocqueville letters. Quel weirdo.

God, I love this blog. Makes me weep that I live in the suburbs.

ArticleInline My! The Obamas' cook is a babe, isn't he?

27 thoughts on “Spreadin’ Love

  1. Kos (or was it Nate?) was right when he wrote that incumbents with the approval level that Corzine had going in have no business getting re-elected. How did he get to be so disliked over the course of his term? The only things I know about the Corzine narrative are, hedge-fund guy gets elected, has bad and stupid car wreck some time later, heads toward election day with his approvals down in the dumps. The other guy doesn’t seem to be much of a prize, either.

  2. Corzine is not a hedge fund guy, he’s a former Goldman Sachs CEO.
    I think yesterday’s post was pretty revealing. Laura couldn’t find a single positive thing to say about Corzine or New Jersey; instead she was reduced to saying that the challenger would be just as crooked as the incumbent and that he wouldn’t be able to change any of the admitted problems.

  3. As a tubby middle aged guy I gotta say I am pleased that Corzine’s ‘fat’ ads against Christie didn’t work. Doug, you missed the part about Corzine’s affair with the head of the public employees’ union… I’m an outsider, never lived there, but I see Jersey (and Mass, and Calif, etc etc) as a place where generations of office holders have made long-term deals with public employees to buy themselves short-term peace politically. You can only kick the can down the road so far before you run out of road.

  4. I see Jersey (and Mass, and Calif, etc etc) as a place where generations of office holders have made long-term deals with public employees to buy themselves short-term peace politically
    You should add Pennsylvania to that list.

  5. I never liked Corzine. He was a poster-boy of the realization in the 1990s that, soft-money restrictions or no soft-money restrictions, millions of bucks in advertising can and will by you enough votes to get elected. He was a high finance carpet-bagger, of which we have too many. As an actualy politician, he was probably–as Laura essential had to admit–no better or worse than most anyone else New Jersey was likely to produce, but nonetheless his career wasn’t one that I probably couldn’t ever have supported electorally; too soiled from the start. (Thank goodness there are always Green and DSA candidates to vote for, right?)
    More stuff on the election here.

  6. Laura couldn’t find a single positive thing to say about Corzine …
    y81, you must have missed this paragraph in Laura’s post yesterday, where she credits Corzine with having attempted the Sisyphean task of convincing local officials to consolidate their fiefdoms:
    We also have really, really small little towns that each have their own fire department, police department, library. Each superintendent makes $200,000. Corzine tried to get the towns to consolidate, but it’s an unpopular idea. People in New Jersey identify more with their local towns, than with the state as a whole.*
    In my home state of Maine, we have a similar problem. Every wide spot in the road has its own K-12 schools, and people are in a constant state of ire over their property taxes. At the same time, nobody wants to cut the level of services that their taxes fund. Hence, an attempt to repeal a two-year-old school district consolidation law (which failed yesterday, thankfully). Before the law took effect, there were 290 school districts in a state of 1 million people. (There are still well over 200 districts.)
    * Here’s what The New York Times pointed out in “State of Distress,” a recent Sunday Magazine story about the N.J. governor’s race:
    “Basically, New Jersey is sliced into so many local fiefs — 21 counties, 566 municipalities, more than 600 school districts — that it’s just about falling apart. Some municipalities are merely dots on the map, maybe a mile wide, surrounded on all sides by a larger township. Some school districts are so small that they actually have no schools. (They pay larger townships to teach their kids.) And yet most little hamlets retain their own officeholders and paramedic squads, just as each tiny school district has its own administrator and school board. It would be far cheaper for everyone, of course, if these small jurisdictions merged into larger ones or agreed to pool their services, but no politician or fire chief actually wants to give up his part-time job, and the taxpayers in these districts — despite moaning endlessly about their taxes — routinely reject any suggestion that they should give up their autonomy.”
    http://tinyurl.com/ybv2crx

  7. David Brooks cracks me up, man.
    “People once lived within a pattern of being, which educated the emotions, guided the temporary toward the permanent and linked everyday urges to higher things. The accumulated wisdom of the community steered couples as they tried to earn each other’s commitment.”
    I think I read about that in a John O’Hara novel once. Maybe it was Hemingway. Richard Yates? T.S. Eliot? GEORGE Eliot?
    Possibly he’s talking about the fourteenth century?

  8. Speaking of being encumbered by local governments, Allegheny County has 130 municipal governments, with only 1.3 million people. Removing Pittsburgh, you have 129 municipal governments for just under a million people.

  9. I think this is pretty simple. Don’t run as a corruption-fighter if you’re not going to make at least a show of fighting corruption. I don’t think it has much to do with Republicans and Democrats, or Obama or whatever. Christie will end up in the same spot if he can’t make some headway on the corruption issue.
    Though this is at least as much a problem with New Jersey voters. A clear majority want a Napoleonic man-on-a-white-horse to clean house, but Jersey corruption is primarily an issue on the local level and will be turned around less by voting for a governor and more by voting more assertively for county commissioners, state representatives and so on.

  10. Well, Virago, I don’t view saying that someone tried and failed as saying something positive. That paragraph was part of the “yes, it’s terrible, and Corzine hasn’t made it any better, but Christie won’t be able to fix it either, so vote for Corzine” part of Laura’s post.

  11. Jersey corruption is primarily an issue on the local level and will be turned around less by voting for a governor and more by voting more assertively for county commissioners, state representatives and so on.
    At least in PA, I’ll get to vote for a gubernatoral candidate who has put state representatives behind bars.

  12. Sounds like y’all need your own private Bismarck, MH.
    I’ve often wanted to move to North Dakota, but I’m afraid of Norwegians.

  13. Well, Virago, I don’t view saying that someone tried and failed as saying something positive. That paragraph was part of the “yes, it’s terrible, and Corzine hasn’t made it any better, but Christie won’t be able to fix it either, so vote for Corzine” part of Laura’s post.
    Corzine may have picked the wrong battle. It’s not surprising that state-level efforts to consolidate local government didn’t go very far when local corruption is so entrenched.
    However, there’s such a thing as fighting the good fight. Making an effort to take on the encumbrance of local governments (to paraphrase MH) — which is a huge contributor to high property taxes in N.J. and any state that has a similar governmental structure — is better than sitting back and doing nothing. I interpreted that as a positive, though we obviously differ.

  14. Sartorialist is nifty, thanks for the pointer, but the city as such is about the sixth or seventh thing on the list of what makes those photos appealing. First off is the light (and naturally, the photog’s ability to spot it or to choose to shoot when the light’s just right), second is the composition (including a relatively shallow depth of field), third is the pose, fourth is the size (as big as possible because sometimes size matters). Only around fifth would I say that the subjects’ physical characteristics, including their clothes, comes into play. And only after that the cities themselves.
    Set a photographer with the sartorialist’s eye and aesthetic loose in the suburbs, and I bet that photographer would come up with equally stylish shots.

  15. Oh, the Sartorialist pictures are fab. But, Doug you’ve been living too far from the suburbs if you think that you can get similar pictures walking in the suburban mall or playground. It would be an interesting challenge, though, “Sartorialist in New Jersey.” Not a project for Laura I think; I’d be willing to take a shot, but my locale might be actually be too hip to make the point. But, maybe not (at least in my local environs).

  16. Doug, I’m a very bad judge of these kinds of things. I’m not saying Sartorialist doesn’t do something very skilled. But, I can say with confidence that I’m not joking about mullets and Steeler jersey.

  17. Doug,
    I suspect you’ve been living lately in places where women put on heels and lipstick to buy a loaf of bread. You may need some sort of intensive repatriation program before returning long-term to the US.

  18. Yeah, what Amy said. Actually, I might be sufficiently inspired to try to do it (i.e sartorialist from the point of view of a semi-suburban mom). I need better light though. Today it’s rainy and icky.

  19. The young, androgynous, cross-wearing London hipster kid from Tuesday is my favorite. But why isn’t the dude with the purple faux-Nehru jacket from today wearing any socks? Dude, Philip Michael Thomas you ain’t.

  20. Working hypothesis for MH: Is there anything other than a Steelers jersey that goes with a mullet? Or vice versa? So maybe once you have one, you’re stuck with the other. (And hey, do Crocs complete the outfit?)
    Also, Tbilisi could do with some faux-Nehru. Georgians wear black, which is apparently the new black. Empirically speaking, nine out of 10 people I see on the street are wearing something black, and many of them are dressed entirely in black. This does not make them stylish, at least absent sartorialistesque (who says English can’t agglutinate?) photography. Nor does the mere presence of heels and lipstick. There are plenty of style disasters to be had with heels alone, at least in the male gaze of this hegemonic westernizer.
    Maybe you’ll get some good light, bj, that would be a fun project.

  21. Just a point for John Corzine. He helped support a bill for paid family leave in NJ — an epic battle that puts NJ ahead of NY (which could not muster the votes to pass their version).
    Corzine also took on U.S. Congress to support extending benefits for children’s health insurance for families making over $50,000 per year (actually I think it was over that). For other states of the union, this seemed exorbitant, but it was in recognition of the fact that NJ has one of the (if not THE) highest cost of living in the country and $50,000 dollars a year is essentially a poverty wage.
    Corzine was a poor campaigner and lackluster communicator, but at least some of his actions were valued by this admittedly liberal democrat. Evidently no democrat has won more than one term in NJ since the 1970s or something. I think Corzine’s problems are more systemic to NJ than to his attributes or faults as a governor. (Along the lines of the excessive federalism of NJ and how that drives up property taxes, which kills any gubernatorial incumbent.)

  22. “Maybe you’ll get some good light, bj, that would be a fun project.”
    Yeah, challenges include 1) light (which will come) 2) people actually outside, but not on a playing field. 3) people willing to let me photograph them, ’cause they think they’re stylish enough.

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