Never thought I'd say this but: I missed crapping out the Crappy Hour. Amateur hack punditry is an addiction, an addiction that will eventually kill us all, and let me tell you, not being able to glibly offer congratz to the Clintons for earning more than $100 million in the past seven years, or new Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain for making $84 million in one year alone, or shadowy greasy haired newly-ousted Clinton pollster Mark Penn for squeezing $10 million out of the Clinton campaign and only three hundred grand from the Colombians — someone's getting paid by the wrong Colombians, Mark! — it was tough. I actually found myself reading...books! (Short ones, don't worry!) Megan Carpentier of Glamocracy fills me in on the really important memes I missed, briefly eulogizes Charlton Heston and tells me the most awesome wonk pollster pun of Campaign 2008 after the jump.
MOE: So you feel guilty cheating on me? I gotta confess, I didn't read Crappy Hour. Well, I didn't read the site actually. But I avoided Crappy Hour in particular because the last time I brought Spencer into it, it ended up being 337 lines long or something. That's why I had to bait everyone with the "date" thing, because I figured that even the die-hard CH readers would give up around line 54.
MEGAN: I think we successfully kept it short, though we got kind of tanget-y, which you and I naturally know nothing about,
MEGAN: But can we maybe have a moment of silence for Mark Penn, who jeopardized the $10 million he took off of Hillary's campaign for a $300,000 1 year contract to push for the Colombian FTA? F'idiot.
MOE: Okay yeah I just want to lay it all out there. Mark Penn has extraordinarily bad hair. Then there is the exciting news that Condi Rice has been actively pursuing Dick Cheney's job, which is wonderful news for all Americans. And then there is that crazy polygamist shit and a think piece in the NYT Mag about Levittown, Pennsylvania that I sorta read and a think piece on Guantanamo Bay in the New Yorker that I sort of didn't read, but you brought up the $10 million dollar thing which is I think a good segue into the Clintons' centimillion dollar tax returns and the inspiring news that being a CEO is as ludicrously lucrative as it has ever been despite the credit crisis, wait, no, scratch that, it is more lucrative than it has ever been.
MEGAN: Well, naturally, it's more lucrative than it's ever been! We obviously need to pay the best and the brightest as much as we can afford to keep it from happening again!
MOE: OH fuck, but you know what my favorite part of the fucking
weekend was? Reading the Wall Street Journal edit page slam Obama for not being sufficiently invested our ponzi scheme of a stock market.
MEGAN: Capital gains is also what you pay if you sell your house and don't reinvest all the proceeds in your next house, but trust the rent-babies at the WSJ to ignore that detail.
MEGAN: Also, you don't pay cap gains on your 401K or IRA if you don't withdraw early, which you might need to do if you make less than $50,000 a year and that's in effect your entire savings.
MOE: I love this slight:
With apologies to economists Buffett and Obama, the history of this tax isn't on their side. The capital gains rate is crucial to investment decisions; higher rates make capital more expensive, dampening incentives to invest and reducing economic growth.
Yeah, and economic growth = CEO paycheck growth. Unfortunately I didn't see the NYT do one of those fun things where they add up the salaries of the top 200 paid CEOs in America and figure out what country's GDP they could buy with that. But whatever, use your imaginatino.
MEGAN: Gah, everything in there pisses me off. Not that I want the cap gains rate to go up, but, still, it's like citing statistics without really explaining it.
MEGAN: I'm guessing like, Poland or something. Not the Czech Republic, but maybe the Slovak?
MOE: I think the cap gains rate should go up, not just because I have no stock market holdings, except this 401K from my last job I don't know what happened to. It just sort of disappeared. Maybe it's there for me somewhere. Hm. Whatever. I bought a Swiss army knife over the weekend and read books. I've decided to join this new survivalist movement I've been hearing so much about. Also, commenters who would like to recommend aggressive accountants: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MOE: Yeah, the Slovaks, we're the slackers. The slacker-ovaks.
MOE: My people know the farce that is this myopic focus on incremental economic growth.
MEGAN: Well, your 401K isn't subject to cap gains, but if it's lost track of you they have to hold onto it forever, it's awesome like that.
MEGAN: Figure out where it was and call and make them track it down.
MOE: Okay but seriously we should probably discuss Mark Penn right?
MEGAN: Oh, hells yeah.
MOE: If you'd taken SinsisterRouge's advice six months ago, Hills, we might not be in this spot.
MEGAN: Except that Hunter Walker just sent me this link in which Hillary asks for credit because it takes her longer to do her hair and make-up. If this is what Maggie Williams hath wrought, I sorta want Mark Penn back.
MOE: Oh Jesus, HILLARY. You know what is so annoying about that? Michael Kinsley wrote that first. And like, it was cool of Kinsley to point that out; hey, give the lady some credit, being a woman is tough because you need to apply all sorts of consumer products to your face and hair and match your clothes to your eyeshadow and stuff and as a result, get less sleep than men. Right. So it's stating an obvious feminine truth, which is cool if you're Michael Kinsley, but you're Hillary Clinton and your campaign is — let's face it guys — really in its final hours, being read its last rites...is that what you want your last words to be? Actually never mind, I take that all back.
MOE: "You gotta give me credit, I applied some really pretty looking eye-shadow, and that shit ain't easy."
MOE: "They construct entire reality shows around MUCH LESS."
MEGAN: Way to strike a blow for feminism, Maggie.
MOE: "Now, onto my second career as the celebrity judge of Make Me A Superdelegate!"
MEGAN: Like, really? I mean, I know you and I have similar beauty regimens: sit around in our own filth until we have to leave the house, wash, put on clean clothes and minor make up and then leave.
MOE: Okay, so seriously, also, back to Mark Penn. You know, when all this was starting, the Clintons did not need to remind America how creepy Clinton pollsters tended to be
MEGAN: Yeah, what is up with that? And how hilare is it when Penn is the less creepy one?
MOE: I actually showered this morning but applied no makeup. Oh, here's some sad news: the guy who makes my egg sandwiches at the deli? Not the guy that owns the deli — that would be aiming too high but the guy who makes the sandwiches —- well I apply lipstick for that guy. Anyhow, so, Mark Penn. Why so long, and at such a tremendous cost? What sort of deal did they have? Is he friends with Ron Burkle and Anne Hathaway's boyfriend? What is the deal there?
MEGAN: I mean, if you're politically and personally committed to someone, do you need $10+ million? He was shilling for the Colombians for $300K. Campaign staffers and Hill staffers work for peanuts. Hell, White House phone answerers work for practically minimum wage. What the hell did he need $10 million for?
MEGAN: I'm guessing she just felt sort of dependent on him and a little lost without him and he took advantage, plus Obama already had Axelrod.
MEGAN: Who, by the way, totally cracked a "the pen is not mightier than the 'rod" joke on MSNBC this morning and I switched channels.
MOE: Well that's just the thing. What if he had some top secret classified GPS-enabled brainwave-reading software hacked straight from Karl Rove himself that promised to deliver the coronation swiftly and bloodlessly? It like, didn't work, guys. And wait a second, AXELROD made that joke?
MOE: Hahahahahahahahahahaha that's aweosme.
MOE: I keep meaning to turn on the TV but it hasn't happened and as you may recall my MSNBC is still muted.
MEGAN: Axelrod totally did. Even Scarborough groaned. Axelrod claimed he'd made it up while on hold but Joe was all, dude, we all know you've been waiting to say that for months and it was the first time I wholeheartedly agreed with Joe Scarborough.
MEGAN: By the way, CNN is picking up the "blogging ourselves to death" story. I've got a cold. I've decided these things are related.
MOE: Of course he'd been saving that for months. How could you not? I'm sorry, it's so stupid, but so awesome. Okay, so, um...Pennsylvania! I keep reading conflicting things. Did you get through that Levittown piece? I got halfway through and will summarize: Levittown is a little blue-collar racist town in Pennsylvania in which the author was raised. It seemed aggressively "normal" and "solidly middle-class" then but it is all beer guts and broken dreams now. The Obama campaign headquarters is dominated by an old guy who was a Republican until he read the two Obama books. Black people don't live there.
MEGAN: Yeah, that sounds like where I grew up.
MEGAN: Also, I've been to one of those Obama roundtable meetings where you're, like, invited to testify like it's a religious meeting. A guy brought me there on a date. It's in the top 10 strangest dates ever. Neither of us called the other back. I didn't testify.
MOE: You missed a large inter-Gawker Inc. email-versation about that. I felt inadequate, as I have only one laptop and I sit on my couch all day and really haven't felt that 'adrenaline' feeling since the first week we launched. I certainly feel like I have blogged myself out of a life, but to death? Hmmmm.
MEGAN: I can only imagine the email thread.
MOE: This Condi pursuing the veepship — is that just crazy talk? Also, did McCain do anything else stupid lately?
MOE: I haven't been paying as much attention as I should have maybe.
MEGAN: Well, if he did it's totally been overshadowed by all the bowling and pandering going on in Pennsylvania.
MEGAN: Also, I can't see Condi pursuing it? I think people just mostly want her to and thus it's spawning the stories.
MEGAN: Whoa, CNN has been banned from reporting from Zimbabwe.
MOE: Oh, yeah, Zimbabwe! What's happening with that?
MEGAN: They're pretty screwed. They're going to have a runoff despite the fact that the President definitely lost. They're arresting some reporters and expelling others, bandits are taking over what few white-owned farms remain and armed militias are patrolling the streets for the "safety" of the people.
MOE: Oh should we address Charlton Heston and/or the PA primary? Charlton Heston: Michael Moore didn't even look like an ass making you look like an ass.
MEGAN: Charlton Heston: We can have his guns now, kthnxbi