Thursday, September 21, 2023

Cheap Shots: Schadenfreude

This Inflation Is Enough to Drive a Man to Drink

As I wrote at Bluesky,

We wanted to understand why so many are beset by economic anxiety in spite of ample evidence that the economy is just fine. So we spoke to some professional Republican business travelers quietly stewing themselves at a barbecue joint at Newark Liberty.

I love the fact that Oates herself did this almost as much as the fact that it got done. Readers adding context confirm her estimates are about right.


Block That Chain

So it seems that the market in non-fungible tokens or NFTs, digital objects whose uniqueness was guaranteed by their position in a blockchain, which reached a trading volume of $2.8 billion in Augut 2021, is now effectively dead, some 95% of the things being now literally worthless. Including those "produced" by former First Lady Melania Trump, culminating in this most recent example (illegal, as it happens, since it appropriates NASA imagery, which cannot be used in NFTs):

Having been on the market for nearly two months, Trump’s USA Memorabilia operation has swindled fewer than 70 people into buying the “limited-edition collectible” of a public domain image. How this NFT will ever be worth its $75 asking price, let alone increase in value, is beyond all reason.


Don't Shoot Until You See the Yellows of His Eyes

You've heard that Cassidy Hutchinson, star of the House Select January 6 Committee hearing for her testimony on Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows and his and Trump's criminal behavior in the 2021 coup attempt (including Meadows's apparent theft of classified documents from thr White House, scooped by me and still not picked up by anybody else), has now written a memoir of her experiences, Enough, coming out next week from Simon and Schuster, featuring an appearance by ancient drunk sex pest Rudolph Giuliani

Hutchinson says the former New York mayor turned Trump lawyer put his hand “under my blazer, then my skirt”.

“I feel his frozen fingers trail up my thigh,” she writes. “He tilts his chin up. The whites of his eyes look jaundiced. My eyes dart to [Trump adviser] John Eastman, who flashes a leering grin.

“I fight against the tension in my muscles and recoil from Rudy’s grip … filled with rage, I storm through the tent, on yet another quest for Mark.”

But she was also, as RSchooley reports, present at the moment when Trump decided to go on his crusade against masks for COVID protection, which would be pretty funny if it hadn't condemned thousands or hundreds of thousands of Americans to death:

Actually, I'm fairly sure some of the press did know it, or suspect it, and said so. Glad to see this corroboration of the story.


Is There a Speaker in the House?

And lastly, the plight of reputed Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who couldn't even assemble the votes to pass the rule resolution for the Defense Department spending authorization. He needs to pass some set of appropriations bills that resembles the deal he made in May with President Biden, holding government spending constant through the next election in November 2024, only his Freedomaniacs wing won't vote for that and insist he renege on the deal, threatening to oust him from the speakership if he doesn't, so he's tried to placate them with an "Impeachment Inquiry" directed at Biden, and openly soliciting the evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors on Biden's part that has eluded actual inquiries for the past five years, only he didn't have the votes for that one either, as the 20 or so non-maniacs in his caucus recognize that unjustified impeachments are the second worst mistake a Republican House can make, the first worst being failing to pass appropriations in time to prevent a government shutdown, so he just instituted the inquiry by fiat while the maniacs, unsatisfied, are doing their best to bring a government shutdown about and he basically doesn't have the votes to do anything at all and he's basically just clinging to that gavel as the waves toss him, like Ishmael in the wake of the sinking Pequod.

Still from John Huston's 1956 Moby Dick.

If it was my call, you know, I'd have the non-maniacs offer the speakership to Hakeem Jeffries, heir and vote-counting student of the most accomplished speaker in House history, Nancy Pelosi, for the sake of getting the essential tasks done and preserving their own asses, but I realize that's not how it's going to work. So I'll just have to make do with the Schadenfreude as he sinks. Pity.

Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.

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