Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Promise

The New Yorker's photo essay, The Promise, is fantastic. "An interactive portfolio about the civil-rights era, with contemporary portraits by Platon, historical photographs, interviews, and audio commentary by David Remnick."

The online version with interviews is a great way to spend a cold February hour and particularly helpful in gaining perspective after saturating your brain with Tea Party sound bites and contemplation of the problems facing the US today.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


I enjoyed this review of Going Rogue: An American Life in The New York Review of Books.
In our present neo-Keynesian moment, economics has never seemed more bewildering and arcane, or more the exclusive preserve of hated "experts" from the "East Coast elites." Most people I know, myself included, can't readily follow the algebraic equations that explain the "Keynesian multiplier," which, in its turn, is needed to explain TARP and the stimulus package. Belonging to a tribe different from Palin's, I simply take it on trust as a matter of faith that Paul Krugman, in his columns for The New York Times, is more likely to be right about such things than, say, Lou Dobbs or Senator John Thune, but I share in the general apprehensive fogginess about what's happening.

For Palin, it's simple. The national economy is a straightforward macrocosm of the domestic economy of the average god-fearing family of four. What's good for the family is good for the nation, and vice versa; and the idea that the family should spend its way out of recession is an affront to common sense, conservative or otherwise. On December 3, she tweeted: "Baffling/nonsensical: Obama's talk of yet another debt-ridden 'stimulus' pkg. Fight this 1, America, bc after last 1 unemployment rose, debt grew." Five days later, while Obama was speaking at the Brookings Institution about the economy, Palin wrote, "Quik msg b4 book event: Prez pls pay down massive, obscene U.S debt &/or give 'stimulus' $ back to Americans b4 propose spending more of our $."

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Fiscal Conservative In Name Only - FCINO

I gasp at Carly for California. Please, keep making shit like this so we can identify those who want to have an adult conversation and those who want to make a complete mockery of the challenges facing California and the world. Lions and tigers and bears and wolves increasing taxes! Oh, my!

Wonkette (thanks Tom) had the appropriate response, but please...that's a Kiwi film, I believe. Get the Flock Out of Here, indeed.

Mr. Krugman had some words about the impending doom of wolves earlier in the week - Fiscal Scare Tactics:
...there’s no reason to panic about budget prospects for the next few years, or even for the next decade. Consider, for example, what the latest budget proposal from the Obama administration says about interest payments on federal debt; according to the projections, a decade from now they’ll have risen to 3.5 percent of G.D.P. How scary is that? It’s about the same as interest costs under the first President Bush.

Why, then, all the hysteria? The answer is politics.

The main difference between last summer, when we were mostly (and appropriately) taking deficits in stride, and the current sense of panic is that deficit fear-mongering has become a key part of Republican political strategy, doing double duty: it damages President Obama’s image even as it cripples his policy agenda. And if the hypocrisy is breathtaking — politicians who voted for budget-busting tax cuts posing as apostles of fiscal rectitude, politicians demonizing attempts to rein in Medicare costs one day (death panels!), then denouncing excessive government spending the next — well, what else is new?
I know, I know...he's a wolf in bears clothing, right?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Getting A Rise Out Of People

This Tea Party thing is just moronic. I fear it has to be covered, sadly taking time from the pressing and complex issues of the world, and I certainly welcome any and all supporters to make their case, debate and put forward their "solutions". Good article on the New Yorker that helps explain it a bit - The Movement. The Ask the Author chat session is illuminating as well.

Keli Carender, someone often mentioned as a agitator, is quoted on NPR as saying, "I tried to boil down in essence what makes me so angry about [the health care plan]. And it was this idea that he [the leader of the US, I think] and other people decide what the needs are in society. They get to decide. But in order to fund those things, they have to take from some people in order to give to the other people."

First, "he and other people" were elected by we, the people who vote in the US, to serve in the function of deciding what the needs are in society. By another name, I call that "democracy". I kindly invite Keli and her supporters to live in countries where elected leaders do not get together and decide how to tax and spend money on public goods and services. Or, share with me which US president and congress hasn't taxed and spent people's money in US history?

Yes, this woman does "appear to like getting a rise out of people". Well, done, your famous; famous for leading the rebels to revolution. "Knowledge is the only commodity that needs redistributing"? Yes, how dare you people...who won the last dare to do your best to maintain a civil service, laws, public goods or help/health care for the needy!

Everyone should read the call for a Solution Revolution, Carender's first post. We should also refresh our memories about the definition of the word socialism. I can't seem to find the word "tax" in the definitions I found.

Charge, Tea Party rebels!