Saturday, April 19, 2008

Springtime in brooklyn

More photos here.

Tough titties

I'm probably not the first to note that, in the wake of the news boobs at ABC's disgraceful performance in the Democratic debate the other night, all the journalistic creatures are rushing to describe Gibson and stephanopoulos's questions as "tough."

Earth to media! They weren't tough questions and neither are you. They were stooopid questions. You, media, are incompetent, if not implicated.

A tisket, a tasket, an economic basket

Although so many noted economists seem to say that the precipitous fall of the dollar in international currency markets has no downside, I'm thinking that simply cannot be. Although I admit that the last non-marxist economics class I took was in high school, I do seem to recall that there was another word associated with a decline in the value of one's money.

The word is "inflation."

And there is also a word, albeit hyphenated, for what happens when a country continues to print vast quantities of cash and spend it like an NBA star in a strip club. That word is "hyper-inflation."

Thankfully, we here in the United States are not subject to old fashioned economic theory. With our historically unique brand of take-no-prisoners get-up-and-go, we have apparently been able to run gargantuan deficits without triggering more than an acceptable smidgen of inflation. And not being an economist, I wouldn't know where to begin to look for evidence to the contrary. I guess I'll just have to trust the assurances of the experts and the government numbers.

In unrelated news, last night I discovered that in the last week that the price of a Pizza in our neighborhood went from $13 to $16 and the giant can of Asahi we get to go with it went from $3 to $4. This blow to our budget was followed closely by the landlord raising the rent by $1200 per year, a steep increase in the price of a metrocard, a significantly larger co-pay for doctors visits, and the cost of our prescriptions going from $30 to $50. Fortunately clothes pins at the dollar store are still a dollar, but the price of laundry detergent went up about 20 percent.

Oh well, all those extra dollars we waste on food, shelter, transportation, health and hygiene will just lighten the load of the suitcase full of money we'll need to go to Europe this summer.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Good ole boys gone bad

Via Atrios I came upon this post at Americablog about a southern GOP congressperson referring to Obama as "boy," as in:

"I'm going to tell you something: That boy's finger does not need to be on the button."

Since I made what was perhaps a similar faux pas the other night, I'm in the mood to ponder these things. I was raised in a southernish culture and, boy I can tell ya, I've had to work really hard over the years to stop saying boy.

I'm not an apologist for the Republican congressperson and am willing to believe him a bad person. Just being a Republican congressperson means he already has 27 strikes against him, if not 27 x 162.

But where I'm from, that sentence could come out of plenty of people's mouth without any racist intent. It's often used as I did above. Something like "Sure is hot. Hoo boy." It's also used to indicate a general state akin to juvenile delinquency as in "them boys got drunk and wrapped their dang ole pickup around a dang ole tree." When it means "nigger" it has an altogether different inflection.

So I don't jump to conclusions over what could be an innocent slip of the tongue. I'm confident the ole boy's voting record is enough to indict him. I doubt if anyone seriously examines that.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The taming of obama

The New York Times reports that Senator Barak Obama has apparently given up his quest for the presidency and become a faithful Democrat.

By Saturday morning, Mr. Obama was trying to contain the political damage after a series of late-night and early-morning strategy calls in which advisers decided he had to acknowledge that he made a mistake.

What was his mistake?
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” Mr. Obama responded, according to a transcript of the fund-raiser published on Friday on The Huffington Post Web site.

And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not,” Mr. Obama went on. “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Ah yes, he accurately described an important part of the culture in the United States which has played an important role in empowering the worst crimes and excesses of the Bush administration and its accomplices.

Can't have that now, can we. No way, Bub. We're number 1! We're number 1!

Anyway, his real mistake is acknowledging that he made a mistake. Although the Bush administration is far and away the worst in American history when judged by all the damage it's done to this country and the world, it has probably been the most effective political operation when judged by it's record of achieving its goals, whether unpopular, illegal or both. And the principle of never apologizing for anything, no matter how outrageous, is one of the cornerstones of that wildly successful strategy. They believe that only the weak apologize. I think if you examine the society in which you live, you'll find that a lot of people share that belief, at least unconsciously.

Me? No. I recognize that the ability to acknowledge one's mistakes and apologize is a sign of strength not weakness. And I think most people would agree with that, at least consciously.

But there is no question either way that it is weak to apologize for something you didn't do, or for doing something you know is right, simply because your rivals demand it. Might as well brand the word "Welcome" on your back an lay down on the porch.

Welcome to the Democratic party, Barak. Don't mind the boots on your back.