So, I'm clicking around the internet looking for a funny picture to illustrate a somewhat, uh, summery Crappy Hour and what do I land upon but this charming photo of Megan McCain meeting Henry Kissinger. Hey, what's our towheaded blogette been up to anyway? Would you guess that directly underneath the Kissinger photo we find a blog post and some heartwarming orphan photos illustrating the fact that she's just back from Cambodia? Well! So…speaking of McCain backers, Phil Gramm says the recession is "mental", a mere manifestation of a national shortage of positive thinking. With all due respect, Senator — very little, but you know me — not for nothing do Americans spend $13 billion a year on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors!! Some guy thinks Capitalism is dead, some other guy thinks non-English languages are dead, a detailed AP analysis proves American life itself is somewhat dead and, oh yes, something about abortion. Glamocracy's Megan IMs me from a Prussian cafe.
MOE: you there?
MEGAN: I am! I'm sitting in a cafe in Saarbrücken, drinking my 4th dose of caffeine for the day and watching it sprinkle outside.
MOE: How pleasant! I am in my bed with a raspberry Kombucha, and I have yet to make the caffeine so as with so many days I am somewhat cranky, particularly regarding the kneejerk hostility of my countrymen, which is to say what the fuck, "Obama aide"? God people need to simmer down. Beyond that I was talking about the Jesse Jackson thing last night and decided that like everything it was just really funny.
MEGAN: I forgot to tell you, I saw Snuffleupagus get into a cab at M and Connecticut the other week! Also, because I missed Crappy Hour yesterday because my flight was super delayed, I also forgot to mention that Madeline Albright was on my flight but I never managed to get back up to business class to fan girl out in her direction after she caught me staring and grinning like an idiot when I got on the plane. Also, how nerdy is it that I fan girl out about Madeline Albright? Anyway, I'm not sure I quite understand the Jesse Jackson thing, but that might be because I spent the time I should've been reading about it toasting my friends' marriage on an empty stomach and thereafter read about it.
MEGAN: But my nerd-crush Chuck Todd says that the map is shifting to Obama anyway so maybe Jesse Jackson can shove off? I forget, did he knock his mistress up or just get caught having one?
MOE: You know, anyone who gets caught whispering about how he's going to cut off the nuts of a guy who is not only in all likelihood the next leader of the free world but a
MOE: close family friend — while miked — at Fox News!…at FOX NEWS…definitely says shit a lot worse than that on a very regular basis, as my friend Brian was pointing out last night. He sort of wanted to engage in a hypothetical Jesse Jackson empty threat contest. I think he started with a reference to skullfucking.
MEGAN: How about eyeball licking when you've got cold sores? Eye herpes=painful and blinding. Plus just the thought of it gives me the chills.
MEGAN: Also, can I say, it sort of freaks me out in Germany that people are, like, totally willing to get caught looking at you. People watching is more of an art form in America in which the goal is not to get caught. Here, they don't care and it is very disconcerting. I don't say that because a group of 15 men just walked by and all stopped talking to look at me as they walked by or anything and I'm not even speaking English or anything.
MOE: Dude WHERE IS MY NOONAN. NO NOONAN TODAY. And where the fuck has Brooks been? You mean to tell me these once a week columnists get vacations? Anyway, so what is all this bullshit with Obama and abortion? I have a block against reading about abortion because reading abortion stories doesn't tell you anything new about anything I guess. And re the Prussians, I kind of like that. I look at people unabashedly all the time. If I have left my house, you are fair game is how I see it.
MEGAN: I know, I just keep, like, checking to see if my bra is showing or something.
MEGAN: Oh, that's the late term abortion thingie.
MEGAN: Basically, he's all like, no "late term" abortions for mental distress, but then there's been no real explanation for him about the definition of "late term," which could be anything from one week into the second trimester to the 8 month mark, AS THOUGH women look down and 8 months and go, ohhh, shit, yeah, this was a bad idea.
MEGAN: Anyway, so peeps are all pissed off and I think rightly so because, for me, it's all within the context of other stuff he's seemingly moving to the middle on which is why I wrote this.
MOE: I guess I should also go through some other shit I ignored this week, such as the party of Lincoln bloggers are angry Obama said Americans should learn other languages, but I think he is maybe just being "pro growth" since some language skills might do something to staunch the rapid falloff in the value of a US life. And to that end maybe Phil Gramm's tough love approach to fending off recession could be exported to other places with economic woes like I dunno Egypt?
MEGAN: Ok, shit, my battery's about to die and I don't see a plug and don't remember the word, so if I disappear, I'll see you shortly but maybe not shortly enough to continue with this...
MEGAN: Sorry, in the meantime, a woman sat directly in front of me, lit up a cigarette and, to avoid blowing the smoke in her companions face, blew it in mine.
MOE: Hey, you know who's not on vacation for which we can be thankful? E. J. Dionne.
The biggest political story of 2008 is getting little coverage. It involves the collapse of assumptions that have dominated our economic debate for three decades.
Since the Reagan years, free-market cliches have passed for sophisticated economic analysis. But in the current crisis, these ideas are falling, one by one, as even conservatives recognize that capitalism is ailing.
You know the talking points: Regulation is the problem and deregulation is the solution. The distribution of income and wealth doesn't matter. Providing incentives for the investors of capital to "grow the pie" is the only policy that counts. Free trade produces well-distributed economic growth, and any dissent from this orthodoxy is "protectionism."
MEGAN: Anyway, Norquist's point is that a bunch of sole proprietorships file under the personal income tax code and thus will see their taxes go up under Obama's plan, but doesn't account for how many people are filing taxes under the personal code instead of the corporate code and thus would switch if the corporate rate was lower, which Obama has proposed lowering.
MEGAN: Wow, Dionne finds conservatives willing to say that boards voting crazy compensation packages for the people who appoint them and pay them might be a market failure?
MOE: It's funny, I had this drink with my old agent yesterday and I went off on this, I'm not quite sure why, and I said something about how the nation's policy makers could have pursued globalization differently and he looked at me like I was — well maybe like he was mulling whether I as stupid as I was inarticulate — and said something like "we don't control globalization" as if globalization was like gravity, which just…uh, may be a common misnomer.
MEGAN: Well, we don't control globalization, but we can control how we implement policies that can effect globalization or the effects of globalization and the only people that don't really seem to understand that are... people whose interests are best served by unfettered globalization.
MOE: Well this is a discussion for another time, but we have now but more importantly, over the past 30 years we, America, the world's largest market by a very long shot and in recent years by a psychotically long shot, have had an inordinate amount of power over how the thing works, and to the extent that our diplomatic interests are our commercial ones, you know.
MEGAN: Our diplomatic interests aren't always our commercial ones? I guess that does explain the depths of our committed engagement in Darfur, Zimbabwe, Burma and Cuba.