Right Thinking From The Left Coast
We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time. - Vince Lombardi

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Snobs “R” Us

Apparently Americans are too uncouth for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Bad news for American writers hoping for a Nobel Prize next week: the top member of the award jury believes the United States is too insular and ignorant to compete with Europe when it comes to great writing.
Counters the head of the U.S. National Book Foundation: “Put him in touch with me, and I’ll send him a reading list.”

As the Swedish Academy enters final deliberations for this year’s award, permanent secretary Horace Engdahl said it’s no coincidence that most winners are European.

“Of course there is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can’t get away from the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary world ... not the United States,” he told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

He said the 16-member award jury has not selected this year’s winner, and dropped no hints about who was on the short list. Americans Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates usually figure in speculation, but Engdahl wouldn’t comment on any names.

Speaking generally about American literature, however, he said U.S. writers are “too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture,” dragging down the quality of their work.

“The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature,” Engdahl said. “That ignorance is restraining.”

How Swedish of him. But I’ll put some of our writers up against Europe’s any day. And the Committee does seem to be quite Eurocentric:

The academy often picks obscure writers and hardly ever selects best-selling authors. It regularly faces accusations of snobbery, political bias and even poor taste.

Since Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe won the award in 1994, the selections have had a distinct European flavor. Nine of the subsequent laureates were Europeans, including last year’s winner, Doris Lessing of Britain. Of the other four, one was from Turkey and the others from South Africa, China and Trinidad. All had strong ties to Europe.

Engdahl said Europe draws literary exiles because it “respects the independence of literature” and can serve as a safe haven.

“Very many authors who have their roots in other countries work in Europe, because it is only here where you can be left alone and write, without being beaten to death,” he said. “It is dangerous to be an author in big parts of Asia and Africa.”

Um, writers aren’t exactly being beaten to death here in the States. And the way things are going, I wouldn’t be so cocky about how safe a haven Europe will remain for writers. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Americans only win Nobels these days if they write fictional movies, like Al Gore.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 09/30/08 at 06:10 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Coherence

Palin does a bit better with Couric in these clips, talking about abortion, gays and evolution.

However, her answer to the “what books do you read?” question is painful and likely to lead off the liberal blogs.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/30/08 at 05:50 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

A Cure For PJ

P.J. O’Rourke, without whom every libertarian blog would fumble for amusing quotes, has cancer:

I looked death in the face. All right, I didn’t. I glimpsed him in a crowd. I’ve been diagnosed with cancer, of a very treatable kind. I’m told I have a 95% chance of survival. Come to think of it—as a drinking, smoking, saturated-fat hound—my chance of survival has been improved by cancer.

I still cursed God, as we all do when we get bad news and pain. Not even the most faith-impaired among us shouts: “Damn quantum mechanics!” “Damn organic chemistry!” “Damn chaos and coincidence!”

I believe in God. God created the world. Obviously pain had to be included in God’s plan. Otherwise we’d never learn that our actions have consequences. Our cave-person ancestors, finding fire warm, would conclude that curling up to sleep in the middle of the flames would be even warmer. Cave bears would dine on roast ancestor, and we’d never get any bad news and pain because we wouldn’t be here.

But God, Sir, in Your manner of teaching us about life’s consequential nature, isn’t death a bit ... um ... extreme, pedagogically speaking? I know the lesson that we’re studying is difficult. But dying is more homework than I was counting on. Also, it kind of messes up my vacation planning. Can we talk after class? Maybe if I did something for extra credit?

Read the whole thing.

I had the pleasure of meeting PJ in Austin a few years ago.  He spoke for an hour, answered questions for an hour and half and then signed books.  He is as funny in person as he is on the printed page.  My dad met him in a New Orleans bookstore some time before that, knowing nothing about him other than that I was a fan.  No one else was in the store so they chatted for most of an hour, exchanged cigars and PJ signed several books for my dad and I.

Best wishes to him.  We need his insight and humor, especially in these interesting times. 

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/30/08 at 03:56 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Wit And Wisdom Of Bowzer

It was a cultural turning point that wasn’t recognized as such at the time.

During the revolution the year before, the Vietnam-era culture wars had escalated into fist fights, even mob fights, between the “jocks” and the “freaks” (and even “pukes"), as protestors were called....Kenneth Koch stopped his poetry class from rushing down from Hamilton to join in a brawl between jocks and freaks going on below by crying out, like a WWII movie heroine, in his campiest voice, “Stop! WE’RE ... what they’re FIGHTING FOR!” His students broke up laughing, sat back down and Koch went on with the lecture, while the jocks and freaks punched it out outside.

Researching in Butler and Avery libraries, [Elizabeth] Guffey discovered George’s twice-weekly Spec ads: “Jocks! Freaks! ROTC! SDS! Let there be a truce! Bury the hatchet (not in each other)! Remember when we were all little greaseballs together” (p. 113). The ads consciously “evoked,” Guffey commented, a “vision of the Fifties as a pre-political teenage Eden.”

After Woodstock, Sha Na Na founders John “Jocko” Marcellino ‘72, Don York ‘71, Rich Joffe ‘72, ‘93L, Scott Powell ‘70 and manager Ed Goodgold ‘65 gained the talents of Jon “Bowzer” Bauman ‘68 and “Screamin’” Scott Simon ‘70. Their popular television show joined with Happy Days and Grease popularizing the new myth. By the 1980 Presidential election, America had embraced the dream of the Fifties as a pre-political Golden Age. So much so, [Daniel] Marcus painstakingly shows, that the American political landscape was altered to take advantage of this invented cultural memory.

Ironically, in the Reagan years it was the Baby Boomers who created their own invented cultural memory, beginning with movies like The Big Chill, evoking a past that never really existed. One wonders how the current decade will be seen, twenty years from now.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 09/30/08 at 02:02 PM in Life & Culture  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Our Mister Brooks

Over at Reason, Matt Welch reviews the history of one of the Right’s favorite Big Government Republican hacks:

It was David Brooks who, five months after the attacks on the World Trade Center, saw a “huge opportunity” to “create a governing Republican majority” through Bush echoing “precisely the aggressive foreign policy and patriotic national service themes that John McCain struck in the 2000 primary season,” including “rogue-state rollback,” “nation-building,” and “a summons to national service.” President Bush, Brooks gushed, had finally “broken the libertarian grip on the GOP.”

It was Brooks who, on the eve of the 2004 Republican National Convention, performed an endzone dance celebrating “the death of small-government conservatism,” arguing that the Republicans “must embrace” a T.R.-tastic “progressive conservatism” if they want “to become the majority party for the next few decades.”

And it was David Brooks who, after nearly seven years of a big-government conservatism administration, declared that “official conservatism [has] slipped into decrepitude,” to be saved only by a bunch of young writers, especially Ross Douthat and Brooks’ former assistant Reihan Salam, who together are hawking a new book about–surprise!–how the GOP can create a governing majority by pandering more effectively to middle class “Sam’s Club voters” than the Democrats. “The best single roadmap of where the party should and is likely to head,” Brooks enthused. “It may take a few defeats for the G.O.P. to embrace a Sam’s Club agenda, but sooner or later, it will happen. Trust me.”

So to sum up: The Republican Party has been following David Brooks’ advice for more than seven years now, and as a partial result is on the verge of a near-historic ass-whupping.

Of course, denial of reality never stopped these types before.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 09/30/08 at 01:47 PM in Right Wing Assholes  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wishing That Planet of the Apes Was Real

This just about sums up my feelings about the pending VP debate, which I will liveblog because I’m stupid:


“Joe Biden reminds people of that loudmouth Yankee from the bar last weekend that they beat with a pool cue.” Hilarious.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/30/08 at 11:48 AM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Hollow-Eyed Hippy

Megan excoriates Pelosi:

Pelosi screwed up royally.  She is the Democratic Tom DeLay.  Newt Gingrich was an ideologue, but Tom DeLay was simply a partisan, most keenly interested in maximizing his party’s political power.  Pelosi cut a deal in which, as far as I can tell, every single Republican in a safe seat had to vote yes so that the Democrats could maximize their no votes.  Given that the Republican caucus is pretty much in open revolt, this was beyond moronic.  She then spent a week openly and repeatedly blaming the Republicans and the Bush administration for the current crisis.  The way she set things up, it was “Heads I win, tails you lose”:  vote for the deal and I’ll paint you as heartless reactionaries bailing out your fat cat friends.  If you’re going to do that, you’d better make sure you have some goddamn margin for error in your own party.  She didn’t.  Then she got up and delivered yet another speech blaming the Republicans for the bailout deal she was about to pass.

Being in power means that you get to give your party special favors on many occasions--but it also means that you, yes you, have the ultimate responsibility for getting things done.  She didn’t particularly try to bring her party in line, and so of course as soon as a few Republicans defected, hers stampeded.  The ultimate blame for this failure has to be laid at her feet.

That doesn’t excuse the Republicans; I’ve already expressed my opinion of their conduct.  If they do not understand that there are some things more important than reelection, they do not deserve to be in Congress.  I’m not sure they deserve to be let loose in society.  But Pelosi is the one who was vested with the ultimate responsibility for shaping the legislative process in the House.  She not only dropped the ball; she picked it up and drop kicked it through her own goal.

Third in line to the Presidency, that one.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/30/08 at 09:03 AM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Quoting Ace

Brace yourselves, I’m about to cite Ace of Spades:

Like I said in the comments: I am not an economic alarmist myself and I get my take from people who aren’t economic alarmists.

So when they suddenly become economic alarmists, I’m alarmed.

Incidentally, don’t mislead yourselves into thinking I’m unaware that I’m taking an unpopular position and it could cost me traffic, and readers, and therefore salary.

100-1 against. I know this. I know this is a Schiavo-level split, the same sort of split that caused readers to abandon some blogs.

So I do know that I could actually gain traffic and readers by rah-rahing the KILL THE BILL position.

But I can’t. Because I honestly think most conservatives are very wrong on this.

And not only are they very wrong, they’re very wrong with possibly dire consequences. And not only that, there’s the possibility that all faith in capitalism will crater and we’ll have three generations of real socialism.

I have to be honest. I cannot be 100% sure, but I’m sure enough that I’ll risk losing a lot of readers: We are in trouble. There is a chance that a crisis will not lead to a vicious-circle deleveraging and halt to a lot of economic activity, but the odds that it will seem much greater.

So I’m not taking this position to annoy people. Or because I have money in stocks. I don’t own a single stock. And my credit’s bad, so, honestly, this kind of doesn’t really affect me. I’ve been on a pure cash personal economy for years.

I’m taking this position because I think it’s right.

We don’t have Aces’ readership, obviously, but the comments on the blog are heavily against.  And I’m sure that some of my co-bloggers disagree with me on this issue.  But my thinking on the bailout is very similar.  I am not, by nature, an alarmist.  I am not easily talked into taking big financial steps.  My wife will tell you that the merest hint of pressure from a salesperson will send me walking out.

But, there are good reasons to support this.  And I’ve come—reluctantly—to the side of the bailers.  It’s my conservatism that makes me do so.  I’m unwilling to gamble the country’s fiscal future on an unyielding faith in the free market to overcome even the biggest government-created obstacles.  Moreover, it might even be the fiscally conservative thing to do.  My dad—who is normally so conservative he makes me look like a pot-smoking communist—called me this morning to point out that if a lot of banks are allowed to fail, the FDIC and SIPC have to step in with a real bailout, not a collateralized loan like we’re talking about now.  Saving a few hundred billion now could cost us trillions down the road.

I understand the divide and I don’t think the people who oppose this are evil or stupid or misinformed.  Well, except the politicians.  I want to oppose this but I’ve read enough from knowledgeable people to convince me that this a reasonable step.

It’s also likely to be a thankless one as Drezner point out:

But here’s the thing — no one gets credit for stopping a meltdown if it doesn’t happen.  To use a security analogy, think about what would have happened if either the Bush or Clinton administrations had killed the leadership of Al Qaeda and the Taliban prior to June of 2001.  Even if they had claimed that they were foiling a terrorist plot against the United States, no one would have known about it, and it would have been pretty easy to attack either administration for belligerent unilateralism.  In other words, it was only after 9/11 that the American public was ready to take the actions that would have prevented 9/11.

I’m wondering if ther same thing will happen now.  If the public, or House members, sees how Wall Street is reacting to what they are doing, they might have time to change their mind (I’m not sure how long the vote will stay open).  Will the evidence of a meltdown be sufficient cover for politicians to do what they have to do?  Or will the meltdown be sufficiently melt-y to make government intervention futile by that point?

You might see several members who were opposed to the bailout financial rescue before they were in favor of it.

It’s always much more politically popular to fix a problem than to prevent it in the first place.  I expect this to be unpopular no matter what, especially with Limbaugh and the hard Left riling up the public with their blatant misrepresentations.  But it’s telling that the House members not running for re-election broke for the bill by a count of 23-2-1.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/30/08 at 08:05 AM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Screw You Guys, We’re Going Home

For a Congress that is supposed to be dealing with a major economic calamity, the majority party sure seems to be taking their own sweet time in doing anything about it:

the Democrats have a solidly established record of being utterly and completely wrong on the whole mess. They are now acting as if the situation isn’t so bad, and are still far more interested in playing their run-of-the-mill political games with the whole process. If they are still wrong (and the odds are highly in favor of that conclusion), then we are in real trouble and the bailout that they don’t seem to care about whether or not it passes is probably a necessary evil.

Both sides seem more interested in flinging blame at each other like monkeys (see my post, below) and I don’t know that the bailout was needed. And the Republicans being snippy hasn’t helped. What I do know is that if there is a catastrophe, the majority party is trying to carry on like it’s business as usual. Isn’t that what got us into this mess in the first place?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 09/30/08 at 02:05 AM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Zootopia

It’s a jungle out there.

A Miami area maid is suing her employer, Hampton Inn, in federal court there, claiming she was forced to clean up after hotel guests who defecated and urinated on floors, left feathers strewn about, and emitted allergenic dander. The guests included “Maya the spider monkey, Bob the alligator, Tango the Macaw”, and two lemurs, along with their human handlers. The multispecies group all stayed at the Hampton Inn at Miami Airport hotel for about a week while in town as part of a traveling zoo.

From the original story:

In her deposition, Valdez said she made contact with hair, feathers, urine and feces while cleaning the rooms.

‘’When you walked into the room, it was like being in a zoo,’’ Valdez said Tuesday afternoon through a translator in the Coral Gables office of her lawyer, John Hess.

Now she knows what it’s like to be a janitor in the Capitol building.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 09/30/08 at 12:42 AM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, September 29, 2008

Boobs Versus Bombs

This is how to fight the War on Terror:

As the daughter of firebrand cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, Yasmin Fostok might be expected to share his fanatical beliefs.

But the radical Muslim’s daughter has ditched his extreme interpretation of Islam - as well as most of her clothing.

The busty blonde has been revealed as a topless, tattooed pole dancer.

Goooo on.

The 26-year-old single mother has been displaying her charms in London clubs and touring as a ‘podium’ dancer with a troupe called Ibiza Untouched.

Hundreds of youngsters go wild over the daughter of the preacher of hate who rants against Western ‘depravity’.

Yasmin shrugged off the secret life that her father would abhor. ‘I don’t agree with his views - I just get on with my life and that’s it,’ she said.

Perhaps predictably Bakri, now exiled to Lebanon, dismissed the news as a ‘ fabrication’ and described it as an attack on him and Islam.

‘The more you put pressure on me, the stronger I become. Islam will conquer Britain,’ he said.

I dunno, Bakri.  Bombs versus boobs?  I don’t think you’re winning that battle.

Read the whole thing, or at least skim it.  The best part is that Bakri got 300,000 pounds in benefits to raise his family and his stripper daughter is on the dole as well.  Oh, and he paid for her boob job.  Ah, the welfare state.

Actually, the story sounds a little fishy to me, coming as it does from the paper of the wives of the people who run the country.  I would think that if his daughter were really doing this, he would have stoned her or something.  But here’s hoping it’s true.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/29/08 at 08:13 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Hoop Menace

Nice to know we’re raising the next generation of investment bankers:

School is back in session. Beware Hula-Hoops. Seriously.

A good friend told me she witnessed her suburban elementary school have its teachers gather their students and explain, as they sat cross-legged on the playground on their first day of school, the dangers of that 1950s icon, the Hula-Hoop.

The teachers dutifully instructed the young children that one must not swing the Hula-Hoop around one’s neck as we all did as kids. Ditto one’s arms. Do not roll the Hula-Hoop, similar to a game our grandparents played known as ... “hoops.” All such things are off- limits.

Was there some recent death spree involving kids and Hula-Hoops of which I am not aware? In repeating this to my own children, my 9-year-old asked, “What do the teachers think they might do with the Hula-Hoop, choke on it?”

Granted, this is a friend-of-a-friend accounting.  But it’s part of a trend:

It’s about a culture—including so many parents—that can’t stand the thought of a child scraping his knee.

But there’s a downside. As attorney Philip Howard recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal, reducing risk has ... risk. It seems that the black rubber safety matting that’s ubiquitous under playgrounds, for instance, was the culprit in children scalding their little feet this summer. “The outrage was immediate,” Howard wrote in his piece, “Why Safe Kids Are Becoming Fat Kids.” “‘How many burn cases will it take,” Betsy Gotbaum, New York City’s public advocate, asked, “before the city wakes up and acts?” Canopies over public parks are now being demanded by some safety advocates.

Huh?

This is in contrast to the concrete or asphalt floors on the playgrounds many of us had as kids. I well remember the time at about age 10 I fell off a swing at the local park, cracked my head on the hard ground below, wandered home and asked my mom, “Where have I been and how did I get here?” My mom, mother to five, calmly responded, “Go lay down. You will feel better.” (Fortunately, I did, but I digress.)

Howard rightly notes that for kids, learning to manage risk is part of growing up. When we teach our kids that to take a risk, to skin a knee, to get a Hula-Hoop injury (sorry, I can’t figure out what that would look like) or to bump a head is to be avoided at all costs, might we instill in our children a culture of fear? Deny them opportunities to handle risk appropriately—or even inappropriately—and learn from such experiences? (I never did goof around so much on a swing again.) Could we actually be putting them at ever more risk by not preparing them to use good judgment in the real world?

Look, I’m all for seat belts, and bike helmets, and nets around trampolines. If my own child wandered home from the park clearly having suffered a minor concussion, I’d get him an MRI ASAP.

But, I also want to prepare my kids for handling life’s surprises, and I certainly don’t want to scare them to death with stories of Hula-Hoops gone bad.

More and more there are instances of no running or tag, and certainly no dodgeball on the playground. And when teachers are forced to teach the “dangers” of the Hula-Hoop? One wonders whether we are harming children by trying to do the impossible—protect them from life itself.

Protecting People From Life Itself.  I think we’ve found a new motto for the Democratic Party.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/29/08 at 06:29 PM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

In His Hands

Now this is what I call easing peoples’ pain in difficult times:

State attorneys say John LaVoie should be forever barred from the massage business because he ran a house of prostitution camouflaged as a church.

But in his latest court argument, the Tucson man says he hired women at Angel’s Heaven Relaxation Spa — near University Medical Center — not to sell sex but to comfort the afflicted through the religious act of “laying on of hands.”

[...]

Whatever they offered, LaVoie’s “angels” operated out of an office building at 1740 E. Lester St., northwest of Campbell and Speedway.

The Angel’s Heaven Web site displayed portraits of young women over trademarked names.
“Oriental Angel” described as 5-foot-2 with dark brown hair and hazel eyes, invited visitors to discover “Far East delight.”

Brown-eyed “Passion Angel” peered out over this message: “Come to Angel’s Heaven now and be touched by an angel willing to take you to heaven and back.”

Why didn’t Jimmy Swaggert ever come up with something like this? But it gets better:

Prosecutors declined to file prostitution-related criminal charges against LaVoie after a Tucson police detective compromised the investigation. Detective Michael Moser told his sergeant in February 2004 that he had sex with one of LaVoie’s angels after work, at her home and in his police car.

Internal Affairs records show then-Chief Richard Miranda agreed to suspend him without pay for a week and demote him from detective to officer. Before police served the discipline, Moser retired in September 2004.

He was only trying to have a more intimate relationship with his faith…

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 09/29/08 at 03:48 PM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

When Pots And Kettles Collide

The war of words was nasty today and it will probably only get worse. Here’s John McCain:

“Just before the vote, when the outcome was still in doubt, Speaker Pelosi gave a strongly worded partisan speech and poisoned the outcome. 

“This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country.”

Not that he doesn’t have a right to be angry, but that last line was pure campaign spin. This is supposed to be a crisis, Senator, not a campaign ad. Jennifer Rubin responds:

“...the only thing worse than the vote was the complaining afterwards that Nancy Pelosi’s speech was too partisan. So they voted against the only viable measure to prevent a market meltdown because Nancy was mean to them?!”

As Hal noted, Nancy Pelosi is without a doubt one of the worst if not the worst Speaker we’ve ever had. But the Republicans are acting like two-year-olds, and McCain’s not really helping. How about he puts Country First for a change and actually try to get things done?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 09/29/08 at 03:28 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Another Roundup

Alan Reynolds reminds us that the last time we did something about an economic crisis, we got the Smoot-Hawley tariff.

-----

Coates pokes holes in the “blame the blacks” mantra that I wish the conservatives would stop pushing:

The basic conservative critique seems to be that the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) strong-armed banks into giving loans to minorities and low-income folks who subsequently defaulted at higher rates than the norm. That wave of defaults caused the current meltdown. Two things about that argument immediately made me suspicious. I know very little about economics, but I know quite a bit about people. 1.) Folks who use single cause logic to explain gigantic complicated phenomena are almost always lying, ignorant or children. 2.) Folks who peddle victimology for giants ("the banks were forced to do it") while decrying the victimology of individual humans ("the white man forced me to do it") are also usually just lying. The Blame The Negroes (BTN) theory satisfies both criteria.But Gordon offers a more technical takedown giving us a history of the CRA and basically summing up why the BTN theory is just wrong.

I disagree with Coates very strongly on one point: the basic conservative argument is not that “blacks did it”.  The basic conservative argument is that federal monkeying with mortgage markets—some of which was justified under the guise of helping minorities—created the problem.

But I do agree with the basic point.  Putting all of the blame for this on CRA and efforts to boost minority home-ownership are just plain dumb, especially as whites comprised most subprime borrowers.  This was systemic.  It ran from poor home-buyers to rich real-estate speculators to dumb Wall Street managers.  There’s plenty of blame to go around—to everyone.  Bush and the Republicans had six years to prevent this and did nothing.  More to the point, they boasted about growing minority home ownership.

Moreover, do we really need to give the Democrats another excuse to call use racists?

-----

I’ve been listening to various conservative talking heads try to shoe-horn the bailout into presidential politics.  First, it was because of McCain that a deal was struck.  Then it was Obama’s fault that it fell apart.  Then it was McCain’s leadership that causes a new deal to be reached.  Now it’s Obama’s fault that it failed.  But here’s the truth:

Two thirds of half Republicans voted for its defeat...after a weekend of telephone call diplomacy from McCain.

McCain was pushing for this and couldn’t get his party to support it.  The facts tend to be immune to spin.

-----

If I sound like I’m waffling on the issue, it’s because I am.  I don’t know what the future holds.  Even the experts don’t know what’s going to happen with or without the bailout.  Economics is notoriously difficult to predict.

In this debate, I find myself caught in a war between two of my strongest political instincts.  The first is my visceral opposition to Panic Legislation.  The calls to pass something NOW NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE always set off my alarm bells.  I don’t respond to high-pressure sales pitches on anything and I’m not going to respond to this one.

However, I also distrust ideology, the mindless clinging to ideals no matter what the facts or the situation are.  Just I distrust the reflex to Do Something! so do I distrust the reflex of No! Free Markets 4ever!  The FDIC and FSLIC are somewhat socialist, but they’ve done an enormous amount to stabilize the banking system.  And, as I noted below, the Republican opposition has less to do with free markets and more to do with capitalizing on the anger of the American public against the idea of giving money to rich CEOs.

Perhaps I’m letting fear of the future get the better of me.  But there are some things we should be afraid of.  And a massive freezing of credit may be one of them.

In the end, while I’m disappointed in the politics of the bailout, I’m not totally displeased with the result of the vote.  It’s a shock to see the Dow plunge 700 points.  But I’m still happy to have Congress take more time on this.  Imagine if they had passed last week’s ACORN-feeding version of the bill.  And I do think we need to address the fundamental underlying problems of Sarbanes-Oxley and Fannie/Freddie.  But right now, the calls for unceasing opposition seem as mindless and ideology-addled as the hyperventilating calls for immediate passage.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/29/08 at 02:53 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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