Friday, November 1, 2013

Cheap shots: Engulfed in disorientation

Image from Uncyclopedia.
Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN, founding member with Congressman Diane Black of the Tennessee Transgender Caucus) got pretty literary in the hearings originally intended to expose the bad planning of the website until it turned out that it was kind of working already and Secretary Sebelius had issued a preemptive apology, and then [jump]
quickly veered to the way Obama lied when he promised if you liked it you could keep it and then the crap plans started vanishing like drowned ugly pit bull puppies, and if the plan you loved happened to be an ugly unbathed two-timing cheat you couldn't keep it after all:
Rep. Marsha Blackburn then grilled Sebelius, mentioning a couple in her district that lost a plan that they liked and found affordable. Sebelius pointed out that they have to be offered a new plan through their insurance, but Blackburn was not satisfied with that. "Some people like to drive a Ford not a Ferrari, and some people like to drink out of a red solo cup, not a wine glass with a stem," Blackburn said.
Actually the troopers said I could drive the Ford if I wanted, but they wouldn't let me take the lawnmower out on the thruway, the bastards! "If I like I can keep it" indeed!
Redneck wineglass from whimsees.
Relentless talking months!

Roger Cohen's weird adulatory intervistina of Glenn Greenwald has some remarkable bad writing:
A young American lawyer comes to Brazil in 2005, falls in love, finds that his gay relationship confers greater legal rights than back home, starts a blog called Unclaimed Territory focusing on illegal warrantless eavesdropping by the U.S. National Security Agency, takes a place in the hills of Rio with a bunch of rescue dogs, denounces the cozy compromises of “establishment journalists”.... 
These things happen. At least they happen in the empowering digital age, and they happen to Glenn Greenwald. 
With his gray shirt, black backpack, regular features and medium build, he merges into the Rio crowd, the ordinary man. Over a Thai lunch, he tells me he is sleeping five hours a night, running on adrenalin.
Add caption
I had no idea having a relationship, gay or straight, can confer rights on a person, let alone more in Brazil than here.  Weird, too, to think of all the typical Cariocas as recognizable by their gray shirts and regular features and vanishing into Thai restaurants, or running as they sleep.
Greenwald lives with a sense of exile but is pesky in his determination not to relent.
"Pesky" must be one of the worst word choices of the year, calling to mind an annoying small animal, or someone else's child. "That pesky adjective of yours has got into my syntax again, Maude, and left my sentences covered in mud. If you can't learn to control it I'm going to call the copy editors on you."  And that "determination not to relent" is bizarre too, as if the key to not relenting were just paying attention, like not falling asleep at a performance of Lohengrin. And what exactly is he not relenting against?  Of course it's not totally adulatory, with a gentle reminder of Cohen's confidence that he is, as a representative of the Times, after all superior to Glenn:
Greenwald overstates the conformity of mainstream papers, whose investigative journalism is often vigorous and fearless. But he is right that journalism got engulfed, with grave consequences, in America’s great post-9/11 disorientation. 
\In any event it's not just him that is determined not to relent: it's time itself!
Unwinding is hard. The five months since he met Snowden in Hong Kong have been relentless; they talk almost every day.
Now let me see, what are we trying to say with this analogy? We're flooded up to the ankles, with debt, right? So what are our ankles? Our posterity, who are going to have to pay off this debt that we are incurring now? Of course they won't have to pay it off any more than we have to pay off the Civil War debt, just keep servicing it in perpetuity, but that's always been too difficult for your debt fiends to understand, so let's move on.

The big thing when you have a flood is that your feet are wet right now, until you get rid of it, and the longer you take to fix the situation the worse it is on your rugs and flooring. In what sense is the debt making your feet wet? (Not to get too wonky about it, that would be those terrible high interest rates driven by the panicky bond market that doesn't exist, and when it does it will be the deficit, not the debt, that is the problem.)

I'd say in the broad our-country-is-our-house analogy, the floor is the fine hardwood foundation which is the most valuable thing we can pass on to our descendants, along with that endlessly renewable mortgage, and as you know flooding doesn't harm the hardwood at all. What's bad for the foundation is if we refuse to maintain it because that costs money: "Sorry, junior, termites got the floorboards—I didn't want to call in the exterminator and get us into a debt you'd have to pay."

And what about that ceiling that a bunch of misguided socialist Muslims are constantly nagging us to raise? What does a ceiling have to do, positive or negative, with a flood? If you don't have a roof at all, of course, that would kind of make you flood-prone, but that's nothing to do with ceiling height, right? Unless it's already so high storm clouds can get in, which is stretching things well beyond the point where an analogy can mean anything. (And again you need to fix that leaky roof—it doesn't drown you in debt, it ups the property value.)
Indoor water? Make it a feature! West 15th St., Manhattan, via
What causes a flood, strictly speaking, isn't just water, to say nothing of the ceiling height: it's walls. If you wanted above all to prevent flooding you'd get rid of the walls, or equip them with some kind of drain so that the debt could run harmlessly out into the yard and into the ground debt table (and it would be cool to have a debt well, too, so you could dip yourself out a cup whenever you need some). And that is exactly what the debt ceiling is, an undrained wall, which causes very serious problems whenever there's an especially heavy debt storm.

And thus the appropriate caption to the Heritage meme would be something like: If your house was flooded, would you spend a billion dollars on a single-use atomic pump that many experts believed would make you bankrupt and the house totally unlivable? Or would you think about pumping it out and installing an inexpensive drain system?

What we're really flooded with here, I'm afraid, is economic misinformation; I guess Roger Cohen might say we were kind of engulfed in disorientation.

No comments:

Post a Comment