On Sunday, George Will wrote a column arguing that Hillary's loss is its own proof that sexism wasn't the reason she lost. Hmmm, illogical-sounding! And yet compelling nonetheless. Because thanks to TNR I had just read a collection of thirty-something thoughts culled from more than a dozen anonymous emails from Clinton campaign staffers and fundraisers and high-level supporters, and I don't remember "sexism" coming up once. So I hit Ctrl-F, just to make sure. Nope! None for "sexist" or "misogyny-" either! Women are still ticked off about how she was treated, about Sweetiegate and Whoregate, but at the end of the day, whatever, it is not why she lost. And Ahmadinejad is bad, but he is neither Hitler nor Krushchev, and energy independence would be nice, but the $370 billion farm bill that enriches agribusiness only by starving some billions of the world's poor only sounds like a good way to achieve it relative to a trillion dollar war. And so I find myself in the position today of agreeing with George Will and David Brooks and Bob Herbert all at once. Let's get serious, guys! I think we've been frivolous for so long it's finally gotten boring.
MOE: I gotta get coffee but apparently David Brooks does a 180 on Obama re the farm bill today
MEGAN: cool. i hate the farm bill
MOE: Well speak of the devil! Does David dig the 22-year-olds? Or do you think this young lady was applying for a job?
MEGAN: Do you, can you, apply for a job in white knee high boots? I mean, other than as an actual go-go dancer?
MOE: Kids today totes! She probably wanted to be his research assistant. Or maybe he was just encouraging her not to pursue the wrong way. So should we talk about Iran and Syria and North Korea…just how "serious" are these places anyway?
MOE: We should also maybe talk about oil.
MOE: I'm going to get coffee though I'm off my meds today.
MEGAN: The oil on my face from all the greasy fucking food I ate last night to make up for not eating all day (hello NY Jezzies!) or the black shit in the ground?
MOE: Vito Fossella abandoned his bid for re-election "in a bombshell announcement that brings the curtain down on one of the most storied careers in Staten Island political history," says the Staten Island Advance. They should enlist Method Man to run. I don't even think he has any secret love children.
MEGAN: "Storied career?" Dude, can we talk hyperbole? He wasn't even a Committee chairman. The only thing that's gonna be legendary about his career is how it ended, which is balls deep in his mistress with his illegitimate child in the other room and his wife and other kids sound asleep in New York.
MOE: Yeah so I have coffee and my Acela ticket now and David Brooks is totally right, the Farm Bill is horseshit, and the only thing I would add to the statement "as the number of small, organized factions in a society grows, the political culture becomes more divisive, the economy becomes more rigid and the nation loses vitality" is that the organized factions don't have to be as small as agriculture. And speaking of which, $307 billion is an astonishing number.
MOE: The question is, I guess, whether McCain get Americans to see in agribusiness the same fatcatism they see in Countrywide Financial and Exxon and Jimmy Cayne.
MEGAN: Well, I don't have coffee yet but if my nose does not deceive me, my friend whose house I'm at in NY has made me some for when I get done here and that's one of 100 reasons why he's awesome. Also, this farm bill is additionally a huge fuck you to the WTO and the developing countries that stymied progress in the Doha Round in order to achieve progress in terms of reduced subsidies. Fuck you, African nations. Fuck you Bangladesh. Kiss our collective asses, Brazil and Argentina. Enjoy that global food shortage thingie and that poverty thingie because we wanted more market access for our artificially cheap foodstuffs.
MOE: Hey, look, the EU is rethinking its own farm subsidies!Theirs are only $75 billion annually though. What if we proposed to just cut our bill down to Europe's level?
MEGAN: Actually, at the WTO, we wanted them to cut theirs more than we cut ours and vice versa. No, seriously.
MOE: That sounds like something we would do! And here's an unfortunate news analysis to which Drudge is linking that credits the increased use of ethanol to the breaking of our foreign oil addiction.
MEGAN: As though ethanol has to come from corn.
MOE: Total digression but GOP Senator Bob Corker rejected/denounced the Michelle Obama ads.
MEGAN: Same way he did the Harold Ford/white girl ads no doubt.
MOE: Apparently ethanol consumes a third of the US corn output. Just one reason USDA economists are expecting a 5% increase in food prices this year…ugh, this topic is so obvious and boring though. Ethanol subsidies = BAD IDEA. There is just no good alternative case to be made there! While he tries to figure out how to articulate a plan for The Rest Of The World That Resents Us, just where is the harm in adopting the one position that happens to both be held by the Republican front runner and the world's poor??? I guess it's in alienating his Iowans. I wonder, though, how often something like "unwavering support for agribusiness welfare" came up during those caucuses.
MOE: Especially when four out of every five Americans want the country to move in a different direction!
MEGAN: Also, like, we could eliminate the ethanol tariff, which is really high and effectively keeps out ethanol imports from places like Brazil, where it is not made from corn.
MEGAN: We could also rejigger the current subsidies to reflect the chemical reality that one can make ethanol from things other than corn, and push investment in that direction rather than encouraging the construction of more corn-based ethanol facilities but, yeah, Obama's got to win Iowa, so...
MOE: Annoyingly, ethanol is nowhere to be mentioned in today's Bob Herbert "Let's Be Serious" column. But thanks for alerting us to this:
The Houston Chronicle did a long takeout on Sunday on the suicide in March 2007 of an Army recruiting sergeant, Nils Aron Andersson - just one day after his marriage to Carry Walton. Sgt. Andersson, 25, had spoken of the many horrors that he had encountered in Iraq and was deeply depressed. He shot himself while sitting in his pickup in a parking garage. Distraught, Ms. Walton bought a 9-millimeter handgun at a sporting goods store the next day and killed herself.
MEGAN: Hooray for a lack of a waiting period in Texas.
MOE: Before I try to summon the will to check out that uplifting story I'd like to draw attention to an obvious but important Page 1 story in the Journal about how the American auto industry's manipulation and systemic inflation of demand via aggressive rebating, employee discounts, predatory lending, large-scale offloading to employee fleets, over the past ten years has finally been deemed unsustainable! The American automakers who embraced waste as a business model for so long are now finally accepting that auto demand might never fall back to where it was…maybe because it was never really "demand" in the first place!
MEGAN: Wait, but I liked 0% financing. Goddammit. Does it mention that what is also sustainable is negotiating with the UAW to determine production levels years in advance is also probably a bad idea? Because that's not exactly market forces, people.
MOE: Well right but market forces, at least the way we think of them, absolutely DO NOT GOVERN DEMAND in this country. It's one of my pet peeves. There's a very good Harper's reading this month further probing this.
MEGAN: Well, but what are market forces and what is demand? I mean, they do to a degree, it's just not the absolute that our college professors and some on the ideological right think it is (or know it's not but try to tell us it is).
MOE: Right and the problem with the ideological left is that they just don't engage with the issue enough.
MEGAN: I think because it's too complex to really explain to people. I mean, hell, I TA'd economics in grad school for other grad students and getting them to understand microeconomics was like pulling teeth sometimes and they were all smart people. It was like this insane mental block for some of them to the point I truly wondered if I was, like, speaking German and not noticing or something.
MOE: Well I don't even understand microeconomics. I think it's fucking stupid. Macro is where it's at.
MOE: hahah I being, of course, an authority on such matters.
MOE: I got a C
MEGAN: Micro is like a really simple way to start understanding how the stock market works at a very basic level. I assume you work up from there but I didn't because I wanted to get a real job. HAHAHAHA.
MOE: Hey here's Jonathan Chait saying we should ignore everything John McCain and Barack Obama say about foreign policy, which I'm sort of down for.
MOE: Did you happen to catch George Will on Sunday btw?
MEGAN: I mean, why don't we just all accept that every policy proposal ever made by a candidate is prefaced by "In a perfect world, where I and I alone got to decide, we would do this...." and ends with "But it's not a perfect world, so what eventually happens will look nothing at all like this but it won't be my fault but vote for me because I had a good idea."
MOE: (Oh and speaking of economics not being a real job Floyd Norris slyly agrees with you:
According to the C.P.I. numbers, gasoline prices in April were 13.7 percent higher than the were in December. Or at least they were before the seasonal adjustments were factored in. With seasonal adjustments - the numbers that are prominently reported - gasoline prices were down 1.6 percent.
I have not troubled to try to figure out how this could be, but Robert Barbera, the chief economist of ITG, gathered data and constructed spreadsheets. He figures that the May number, seasonally adjusted, will be up 5 percent for the month. Presumably, those sounding comforting words about inflation now will have less to say then.
Only a Ph.D. in economics would think he needed to spend a couple of hours to prove that gasoline prices are not declining these days.
MEGAN: Dude, we get to "seasonally adjust" what things cost?
MOE: Well certain things always cost more in certain seasons and certain months are more consumptive than others so…I can hazard a guess as to why this was but the point was just that data ≠ reality in a lot of areas in economics, which is scary
MEGAN: Yeah, like everything other kind of reality, economics is just a subjective reality. Shadows on the wall, etc.
MOE: lol you ALWAYS FALL BACK ON THE GERMAN PHILOSOPHY
MOE: I'm on to you lady
MOE: You probably have a secret Nietzsche sig file of your own
MEGAN: Yes, but it's in the original m'fucking German.
MEGAN: Because that's how I roll. Quoting dead white German guys. I'm sofa king cool.
MOE: I am bringing this back to George Will and baseball btw.
In America, however, nothing ages as fast as novelty, and efforts to encourage Clinton to pack it in are heartening evidence that the novelty has worn off: The female candidate is like all other candidates. This is what equality looks like — life as an equal-opportunity dispenser of disappointments.
MEGAN: I love how George Will's theories on life are so similar to my own. He just forgot to add "never-ending" there at the end.
When, in 1975, Frank Robinson became major league baseball's first African American manager, with the Cleveland Indians, that was an important milestone. But an even more important one came two years later, when the Indians fired him. That was real equality: Losing one's job is part of the job description of major league managers, because sacking the manager is one of the few changes a floundering team can make immediately. So, in a sense, Robinson had not really arrived until he was told to leave. Then he was just like hundreds of managers before him.
MEGAN: Well, unless you get fired for Working While Black. Then it is actually not equality.
MOE: What I love is that it seems that Hillary's own staff would agree. Sexism: why, they don't blame it for sinking her campaign either! Indeed, because they are too busy blaming one another. But Geraldine Ferrarro's reality is different..
MEGAN: Geraldine Ferraro should be president of the society of women who are so damn angry that their candidate didn't win that they'll fuck over the rest of us out of spite.
MEGAN: Also, ahem, it seems like they're trying to blackmail the superdelegates and the remaining states and shit, which is not a good tactic.
MOE: Well that society shares a reality of its own. It's just not mine. Or George Will's. And any society that claims us and George Will as a member is not a particularly exclusive one
MEGAN: I mean, I'm happy to create my own reality, I just realize that I have to function in the collectively shared reality.
MOE: And I'm out with this, because I didn't want it to go unnoticed:
Is Lebanon viable anymore?" he asked. "Is Lebanon really viable?"
"Frankly, 40 years of my life have been wasted. Fifteen years of civil war, 15 years of Syrian domination and now we've come to something worse," he said, growing angry. "I've lost 40 years of my life in this stupid country. It really is a stupid country. I have nothing good to say about it anymore. I'm disgusted by what's taken place."
He dragged on his cigar, as he sat in his stately villa in Zqaq al-Blatt, enveloped by a scourge of concrete cluttering the neighborhood. Light reflected faintly from stained-glass windows of red and blue, resting under graceful Levantine arches.
"I wish I was born in Syria. Or that I was born in Egypt. Can you imagine living in a country that has gone through 30 years of this? What kind of country is this?"
He shook his head, his anger giving way to dejection.
"There's something wrong here," he said, "something wrong."