Pages

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Free-For-All Market

More good stuff:
The cult-like worship of unregulated markets must end. Never again do I want to hear someone preach to me about the market's infinite powers to heal itself. Stop arguing that all government intervention and regulation is bad, or that people who lose their home should just suck it up and deal with the Darwin effect. The high priests of unbridled laissez faire need to go take a long vacation now while reasonable people find a sensible middle course. Because you, Wall Street, and you, absolute capitalists, you could dish it out but you couldn't take it.
I still stand by what I wrote last September.

Greed is not good. It's immoral and, as the last week or so has proved, somewhat destructive.
Blogger is fucked up, man. I probably can't even delete this post...Sorry, folks. Technical difficulties.

I blame liberals in the media.
Test

Another Rant: Part Two

(Not sure what happened to this post...so I'm doing it again. If you see it twice, three times, four times, sorry.)

Yikes!
As Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, put it Friday morning on the ABC program “Good Morning America,” the congressional leaders were told “that we’re literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system, with all the implications here at home and globally.”
Days away? Duuuuude.

And you know what's weird? Charles Krauthammer wrote this today. History will judge? No shit, dude.

I love this paragraph though:

When I asked the president about his one unambiguous achievement, keeping us safe for seven years -- about 6 1/2 years longer than anybody thought possible just after Sept. 11 -- he was quick to credit both the soldiers keeping the enemy at bay abroad and the posse of law enforcement and intelligence officials hardening our defenses at home.

His "one unambiguous achievement?" Which had been achieved by almost every previous president before him, even those at the bottom of the list? He kept up safe for seven years?

You know, I think Bush has it right on this one. He doesn't deserve the credit, especially if we're talking about Iraq.

And speaking of Iraq, I heard about this video. (You're gonna love this, Jim. You'll be crying more than I cried during We Are Marshall.)

You gotta hand it to him. This dude is good.

He's speaking from the heart and has paid his pound of flesh, so I can't slam him too hard. But he's pulling the strings a little too hard. Yes, the sacrifices have been great and I have to believe they have been worthy. Calling them mistakes certainly sounds bad, but isn't it just as absurd to call the war "good" because good things have happened?

Also, when we talk about the Iraqi people, that's great. I'm glad they're better off. I'm glad they're happy and have freedom. We're Americans though, and President Bush is the president of the United States. The next guy should remember that.

Also, the "freedom has a price" stuff. I'm so sick of hearing that. Freedom has a price? Like standing in security lines at the airport while your non-terrorist mother gets wanded by some dumbass? Like spending two and a half hours at the DMV waiting, begging to write them a check? Like getting slapped with a bogus criminal charge because you pissed off a cop? That kind of price?

No, sorry, you're talking about blood. You're talking about the troops, sent to Iraq to what? Look for WMDs, fight terrorist insurgents, police the neighborhoods, get blown up on patrol, to hold their hands as they break their democratic cherry! All such grand and noble schemes! Let freedom reign! (As Bush once wrote.)

You can think you're fighting for my freedom over in Baghdad, but that's something I do here at home everyday. And I've never spilled a drop of blood or been in a single firefight.

You want to say freedom isn't free? I'm with you on that. But don't think for one second that you're paying all the freight.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Death of the Free Market

I'm not as reactionary as John Cole on the subject, but I understand his anger.
I do not ever want to hear another damned word about the free market. I don’t want to hear another thing about letting the market regulate itself. I don’t want to hear about the free flow of capital. I don’t want to hear about government getting out of our lives.

None of it. From superfunds to super-bailouts, I am tired of other people getting rich being irresponsible and then being told I have to pay to clean it up.
Fuck yeah, bud!

More than that, I'm tired of this idea that the guys up top (the board and executives) are entitled to massive compensation packages in the millions of dollars while the employees who actually run the company on a day-to-day basis get peanuts. It's unfair and puts the lie to this "fruit of your labors" crap.

About a month ago, I was stressing about money and it was suggested to me that I get a second job. My response? "Fuck that! Like I want to work my ass off to make two white men even richer." Hyperbole? Definitely.

But within is a kernel of truth.

The Free Market is Not a God

The other day, Uncle Jim tried to get me to admit I'm a communist. I'm not. I dig capitalism like I dig Jesus: Both good things, but I draw the line at "worshiping them as all-powerful deities."

Which is why when I read this in the New Republic I was nodded my head, saying "Yup, yup."
Conservatives like McCain naturally believe that the free market, left to its own devices, would handle these tasks better. And they're entitled to their opinions. But the fact that people want--and need--these sorts of initiatives ought to make everybody else skeptical of such arguments. If the free market could provide everybody with affordable health care, why would we have 45 million Americans uninsured--and another 25 million (at least) underinsured? If the free market could wean us off peteroleum dependence, why are we all now sweating out $4-a-gallon gas prices? If it could educate every youngster, why are so many kids growing up illiterate?
The free market is great, but it does have its limitations.

Another Rant

Yikes!
As Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, put it Friday morning on the ABC program “Good Morning America,” the congressional leaders were told “that we’re literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system, with all the implications here at home and globally.”
Days away? Duuuuude.

And you know what's weird? Charles Krauthammer wrote this today. History will judge? No shit, dude.

I love this paragraph though:
When I asked the president about his one unambiguous achievement, keeping us safe for seven years -- about 6 1/2 years longer than anybody thought possible just after Sept. 11 -- he was quick to credit both the soldiers keeping the enemy at bay abroad and the posse of law enforcement and intelligence officials hardening our defenses at home.
His "one unambiguous achievement?" Which had been achieved by almost every previous president before him, even those at the bottom of the list? He kept up safe for seven years?

You know, I think Bush has it right on this one. He doesn't deserve the credit, especially if we're talking about Iraq.

And speaking of Iraq, I heard about this video. (You're gonna love this, Jim. You'll be crying more than I cried during We Are Marshall.)
You gotta hand it to him. This dude is good.

He's speaking from the heart and has paid his pound of flesh, so I can't slam him too hard. But he's pulling the strings a little too hard. Yes, the sacrifices have been great and I have to believe they have been worthy. Calling them mistakes certainly sounds bad, but isn't it just as absurd to call the war "good" because good things have happened?

Also, when we talk about the Iraqi people, that's great. I'm glad they're better off. I'm glad they're happy and have freedom. We're Americans though, and President Bush is the president of the United States. The next guy should remember that.

Also, the "freedom has a price" stuff. I'm so sick of hearing that. Freedom has a price? Like standing in security lines at the airport while your non-terrorist mother gets wanded by some dumbass? Like spending two and a half hours at the DMV waiting, begging to write them a check? Like getting slapped with a bogus criminal charge because you pissed off a cop? That kind of price?

No, sorry, you're talking about blood. You're talking about the troops, sent to Iraq to what? Look for WMDs, fight terrorist insurgents, police the neighborhoods, get blown up on patrol, to hold their hands as they break their democratic cherry! All such grand and noble schemes! Let freedom reign! (As Bush once wrote.)

You can think you're fighting for my freedom over in Baghdad, but that's something I do here at home everyday. And I've never spilled a drop of blood or been in a single firefight.

You want to say freedom isn't free? I'm with you on that. But don't think for one second that you're paying all the freight.

The Outrage Brigade Strike Again

They say liberals have infected our institutions of higher learning and have turned them into indoctrination centers reminiscent of Stalin's re-education camps. It's not true, of course. Colleges and universities still manage to turn out perfectly educated conservatives every year, either because that indoctrination isn't as effective as some fear, or it's just not all that pervasive.

And here we go, with some more of the "Angry Left" inflicting its skewed perspective on the innocent minds of students, right here in lovely Denver, Colorado.

The scene, Metro State University, a school sitting across the street from the Pepsi Center, part of the Auraria Campus complex which houses Metro State, the Community College of Denver, and I believe, a University of Colorado campus. The crime: An essay question about Governor Palin.
According to the conservative news website WorldNetDaily.com., Hallam assigned students to write about Palin, noting "her body language, facial expressions, the way she dressed, what she said and who she pointed out or talked about in her speech. How do these elements form a 'fairy tale' image about Sarah Palin as a person and as a politician that the Republican Party may wish its members and the American public to believe?"
This prompted Matt Barber with a conservative legal organization, whose sister was in the class, to say:

"What's happening in that classroom represents a microcosm for what's happening with the angry left around the country."
Or maybe it's just called learning.

Am I to believe that a clever conservative student couldn't turn the question on its head and write about how the Palin pick isn't about "her body language, facial expressions, the way she dressed, what she said and who she pointed out or talked about in her speech." This same student couldn't write about how Sarah Palin is NOT a "fairy tale" princess and instead a competent politician that's going to take the GOP in new and exciting directions?

Am I to believe that a student who did this would get a bad grade simply because they didn't fall in line with accepted liberal orthodoxy? I suppose it's possible, but that's not what the big deal is about.

It's about the essay question itself. How dare the "angry left" ask students to examine political candidates I support!

And really, "angry left?" To paraphrase Harry from Dumb and Dumber, I thought the angry left would be a little angrier.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Laughable Hypocrisy


I don't know if anyone saw this video yet. It's being touted as Chris Matthews embarrassing Eric Cantor (R-VA), but put me down in the "Cantor embarrassed himself" category."

When Chris Matthews says to him, "But it's your crowd that's been in charge for eight years," Cantor immediately goes to the "no excuse a Nancy Pelosi-Harry Reid led Congress can't act" line.

But then a little while later, after being asked if he likes the job Bush is doing as president, Cantor goes into the "now is not the time for pointing fingers" nonsense.

When we're talking about the Pelosi-Reid axis, by all means, point fingers. But when talking about the guy Republicans staked their brand on? Now is not the time...

Incidentally, this made me think of the "People's Guide to Palinguage" that John Ridley's been putting together. (Vol. 1 & 2 here, Vol 3 here.)

Some of my favorites:
If you are biracial and born in a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs darn near 2 years and 3 major speeches to “get to know you.”

If you’re white and from a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs 36 minutes and 38 seconds worth of an acceptance speech to know you’re “one of us.”
Did I ever tell you the people swooning for Palin remind me of all the friends I've had over the years that met their one true love over the internet and they're quitting their job and moving to Michigan to be with them? Yes, first impressions can be quite impressionable. But let's not do anything rash, eh?

Then there's this one, which kills me:
If you’re 18, white, and get a 16 year old girl pregnant “life happens.”

If you’re 18, black, and impregnate a 16 year old girl, you’re a “registered sex offender.”

Or how about this one?

If you supported a war that is costing $2.4 billion a day, you're a patriot who wants smaller government. If you oppose the war, you're a defeatist who wants big government.

And for the "beer track":
If you're a Democrat and you prefer wine over beer, you are an "elitist." If you're a Republican and you prefer a beer heiress over your first wife, you are a "committed family man."
Youch!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Man

Damn, he's good.

(Obviously I've gotten over the no-tickets-to-the-speech thing because I'm giving him some free ad space.)

Also, if you haven't seen this...McCain gets Obama-rolled.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fantasy Football

Man, I really blew it this week.

Last week, I destroyed my opponent. My starting receivers Randy Moss and Dwayne Bowe both scored touchdowns. My running back Willie Parker scored three.

This week I made some adjustments. I benched Bowe in favor of Jericho Cotchery, who also scored last week and is getting the ball from Brett Favre these days. Considering Kansas City isn't much of a threat, I had no problem with that move.

But this week, Randy Moss only got 22 yards which got me exactly 3 points. (What's up, Cassell? Can't throw to Randy or what?) Cotchery got even less, 20 yards for 2 points. Neither of them scored.

Bowe didn't score, but he got 90 yards and 12 points, more than Moss and Cotchery combined!

To make matters worse, I started Ben Rothliesberger (who threw for 176 yards for 13 fantasy points) in lieu of Green Bay's new guy Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers threw for 328 yards and 41 points. I also had Greg Jennings, one of his receivers, on the bench and he got 167 yards for 33 points.

Those two guys, sitting comfortably on my unthinking bench, scored 74 points together.

My starting line-up only managed to score 90 points. If it wasn't for Tony Scheffler's two touchdowns, I would have scored even less!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Number One

Hetfield is God!

At least on the (almost meaningless) album charts. Good for them! As a guy who approached the new record with trepidation, I have to say they earned it. The damn thing is solid.

A few days after hearing Unforgiven III looping in my head, it was replaced by a new ear worm in All Nightmare Long. There's some serious palm-muting going on in the last minute or so, and I do like the chorus even if I can't sing it.

And then there's a ten-minute instrumental called "Suicide and Redemption," which reminds me a lot of a band called Karma to Burn. They were a three-piece power rock trio who only wrote instrumentals. They numbered their songs instead of naming them and unconstrained by the need for lyrics, they could be as heavy (rhythmically) as they wanted to be. (Here's a sample from their song, 34.)

Truth be told, I don't really care if the song is a bit derivative of Karma to Burn's vibe. It's a good vibe. And for a ten-minute instrumental, "Suicide and Redemption" is pretty damn good, too.

I imagine it makes a pretty good Guitar Hero level, too.

The Ghost of John Steinbeck

A thought about this Wall Street meltdown...

If it does indeed turn into another Great Depression, which I don't think it will, John Steinbeck is going to be rolling in his grave, saying to him, "Those dumb motherfuckers. I told em! I fucking told em!"

If you haven't read Grapes of Wrath, I highly recommend it.

Insulting My Intelligence

John McCain, still in Florida, was talking about how Todd Palin was a great snowmobile racer and all that, then he says, "So he's ready for Washington." WTF????

Because he raced a snowmobile up in Alaska???

Out of Touch?

Duuuuuuude...John McCain was telling a crowd in Florida today (after this) that he believes the fundamentals of our economy are strong.

It's no secret that I can't stand the dude or the party he represents, but putting all political considerations aside, and speaking solely as a rational semi-aware person...
The guy clearly has no clue what he's talking about.

Lehman Brothers goes bankrupt, Bank of America swallows Merril Lynch, AIG is begging for federal money to stay afloat. Yeah, our economy is real strong there, bud.

Either he doesn't know how weak the economy is, and he's just making shit up because it sounds good on the stump.

Or when faced with a financial crisis, McCain's first impulse is to deny it even exists!

Either way, why would we even consider putting this dude in charge of the country?

(Updated: A third possibility occurred to me, which is this: when John McCain says "the fundamentals of the economy" he's not really talking about the "fundamentals" or performance of our capitalistic free-market economy. He's talking about the concept of a capitalistic free-market economy itself! Strange...

This didn't happen because we're capitalists. This happened because the big shot capitalists in these investment firms were really bad at risk assessment. Assessing risk isn't one of the fundamentals?)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Controversy

There's a lot of controversy about this photograph, taken by Jill Greenberg, but as art, and yes I think photographs qualify as art, I actually think it's pretty deep.

It's definitely not flattering; every wrinkle and crag is bathed in shadow, his turkey neck is the most prominent thing, and his arched diabolical eyebrows.

But there's that shadow. It hovers over him, dwarfs him even. It could be the far-right lurking over his shoulder, telling him what to do. It could be the former McCain, honorable, decent, trustworthy, now just a shadow hovering over the diminished Golemic creature that has replaced him. Or maybe it's just the shady emanations of a manipulative photographer.

Whatever it is, it's a great picture.

Metal That Sounds Like Other Metal


This guy has a whole series of these. Essential listening.

Great Moments in Sports Journalism

Sports commentary isn't known for being intelligent or probing. Here in Denver, we're cursed with the execrable Woody Paige, who writes columns like he's got Tourette's Syndrome. (Example from this week's column: When L.T. is not stopped, the Broncos lose. When he is stopped, the Broncos win. It's like he gets his material from fortune cookies.)

But in Kansas City, they've got Jason Whitlock, who is absolutely brilliant. I don't agree with everything in this article, but I certainly agree with this:
...I'm really not surprised that Vince Young's mother told The Tennessean that her baby boy needs a little space and a lot of love and support.

The question is, when Young rebounds from his emotional abyss and recovers from his knee injury, what kind of love and support are we going to give him? Are the people who already love Young going to replant their heads in Young's rear end and their hands in his wallet? Or will a few people within Team Vince do the right thing and level with him about what he needs to do to make it in the NFL as a quarterback?

Vince Young, like a lot of young African-American men, desperately needs to hear the truth from the people who love him. Too often we pave the road to failure for black boys by believing the cure for bigotry — and there is still plenty of bigotry in America — is the ability to recognize it in (and blame it for) everything. That cure has more negative side effects than most of the drugs trumpeted by the pharmaceutical companies in television commercials. That cure serves as a convenient crutch, and turns a talent such as Vince Young into a quitter the moment adversity strikes. That cure helped land Michael Vick in jail.

Everyone told Vince Young and Michael Vick the NFL would be easy. They'd revolutionize the QB position with their legs, and they could pop bottles, roll with a posse and pretend to be Jay-Z in their spare time.

It just doesn't work. Not for Young or Vick. Not for Matt Leinart. Not for anyone who wants to star at the position and avoid the boo-birds.