Sterling Ambivalence (sterlingnorth) wrote,
Sterling Ambivalence

The comic gold in newspapers was high today.

For the first time in weeks, I got a laugh from reading the newspapers. No, not because the country seems to be getting in a better shape, or the current administration has gotten a handle on things. No, because it seems that Bush and gang has finally descended into self-parody and farce.

For example, in today's NY Times, we hear that despite being a general failure at his job, and despite calls from Congress for him to resign, SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt had the temerity to actually ask for a raise and promotion! Obviously, he didn't get far with the suggestion.

And last night, Josh Marshall had the entire house in stitches with his take on George Bush's attempt to get back in the game on economic issues. Which goes as follows...
Wall Street and congressional Republicans are going nuts. They think the sky is falling. But the White House thinks things really aren't so bad. And they have a clever plan! The administration will use the August congressional recess to get a jump on Congress by pressing lawmakers to vote on fast track. That, and the President and Secretary O'Neill will travel to companies around the country that are doing well.

Yep, that'll show them! But he saves the best ammo for Larry Lindsey, the hapless econ advisor.

[From the Wash Post] More dramatic economic proposals have so far been squelched. According to one economist close to the administration, White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey has suggested a narrowly tailored cut in the tax rate paid on stock profits for investors buying new stocks. That could lure buyers into the market. But the proposal was roundly shot down because it could be interpreted as a gift to affluent taxpayers at a time of economic uncertainty.

[Josh Marshall] This is what I mean by the feedback loop and smoke coming out of their ears. Larry Lindsey is the president's chief economic advisor, the top cheese, as good as it gets. His solution to the fix we're in is to jigger the capital gains tax. Obviously his advice is being blocked by political advisors who happen not to be insane.</a>

Anyway, Eric Alterman wonders why an economics professor is doing a better job explaining the economy and budget politics (which for now on I will follow the example of ABC News and refer to it as "Big Casino".). Why is he surprised? To have a handle on politics, in addition to political science you need to know a bit about sociology, history, various scientific disciplines, technology, law, etc. Rarely is there a professional journalist (who majored in Journalism typically) who is up to speed on all of the above. Plus there's this obnoxious tendency to always play political stories as a fight of two sides who are equally right, which leads to wonderful situations where you read articles that say "there are still doubts in some circles about the validity of evolution, global warming, arithmetic, etc..." even when one side is clearly wrong. And we don't need to get into the detail of how journalist always need to make things into a simple narrative, and ignore facts that help with this narrative.

But don't worry, Alterman. the guy who wrote Dow 36,000 still works for the Washington Post. Which means that if you're a pundit, you never have to say you're sorry.

Why I don't get my damn blargh* back up, I don't know. I guess I'm just too lazy. I'd rather talk about cartoons and stuff here, and I doubt most of you care to read my complaints about the punditry or journalism. You can get much better dope from the Daily Howler. But I need to get this out of my system and I don't want to deal with the tech support nightmare that is Spaceports.
*I must thank Hamadryad for that wonderful name for the weblog form.
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