Archive for June, 2011
Since when is it a “crime” to call the President of the United States a dick?
What is this? North Korea?
Hey, yo, all you Ronald Reagan-loving Republicans, this is what your hero had to say about not raising the debt limit:
In a November 1983 letter to then-Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker, Jr. (R-Tenn.), Reagan warned that without a higher debt ceiling, the country could be forced to default for the first time in its history.
Reagan wrote: “The full consequences of a default – or even the serious prospect of default – by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar.”
In a 1987 radio address during another such clash with Congress, Reagan wrote that “Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinksmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the Federal deficit would soar.”
Then again, I know you ignore the things he said and did that you don’t agree with. It’s a facts-only-when-they-fit-the-narrative thing you’re in the habit of doing.
A sight for sore eyes.
Oh, and look at those eyes.
(Via Flickr user Kris “V.”)
The internet is abuzz this afternoon with faux outrage over Mark Halperin, the editor of Time magazine and a “political analyst” at MSNBC saying this morning that President Obama was “kind of a dick” yesterday at his press conference. It’s as if we’re in kindergarten and the kids are snickering and pointing over to lil’ ol’ Mark who’s standing in the corner facing the wall because he got in trouble. (MSNBC has since suspended Halperin “indefinitely” as if to prove it cares about the quality of commentary on its airwaves.)
But the snickers and gossip and the suspension totally miss the point, IMHO:
The real problem is the dickishness of our mainstream political analysis, especially from the “savviest” practitioners. Back during my days as media critic, I argued in Breaking the News and a related Atlantic cover story B that the laziest and ultimately most destructive form of political coverage came when journalists seemed to imagine that they were theater critics or figure-skating judges. The what of public affairs didn’t interest them. All they cared about was the how.
In this case, the “what” of Obama’s press conference — the unbelievable recklessness of mainly House Republicans in inviting the largest self-inflicted economic wound in American history — deserves every bit of frustration Obama showed, and lots more. In the long run we’ll have some sense of whether Obama’s typical surreal unflappability, whatever its origins (I have my theories, but for another time), was the wisest long-term response to today’s Republican party — and whether this unusual flash of emotion worked in directing public attention to a looming and entirely unnecessary blow to America’s wellbeing.
But the real news of the press conference, of course, was the economic, financial, political, and Constitutional showdown Obama was discussing. Not to understand that, and to act as if this was a free-skate program where a contestant should be judged on poise, costume, and sticking the landings, is just dickish.
Bravo, and that about sums up what’s wrong with our media in general.
Finally, corrupt bankers are being arrested. Oh, wait. In Afghanistan:
Afghan officials said on Thursday that they have arrested two former executives involved in the collapse of Kabul Bank.
According to Rahmatullah Nazari, the deputy attorney general, authorities arrested Sherkhan Farnood, the former chairman of Kabul Bank, and Khalilulah Frozi, its former chief executive officer, on Wednesday in connection with what he said was hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent loans to bank officers and insiders. . . .
They were the first arrests in the Kabul Bank affair since exposure of the bank’s huge losses last August. The move is likely to be welcomed by the international community, which has held up some aid to Afghanistan until government action is taken on Kabul Bank.
While Afghanistan is hardly a model of the rule of law — the arrests were effectuated by a corrupt government under severe pressure from outside factions on which they financially rely — it’s nonetheless true that in the U.S., even that minimal level of accountability seems impossible…