Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DITTO what Mark Steyn said:

As a general proposition, when told by unanimous elites that a particular course of action is urgent and necessary to avoid disaster, there's a lot to be said for going fishing. If the entire global economy is so vulnerable that only the stalwart action of Barney Frank stands between it and ten years of soup kitchens, can it, in fact, be saved? Or look at it the other way round: Given any reasonable estimate of the number of headless chickens running around, was the five per cent fall in Asian markets and seven per cent "plummet" on the Dow in reaction to the House vote really the catastrophe some of my pals round here seem to think it was? If fear of seven per cent falls is enough to justify massive unprecedented government intrusion into the private sector, we might as well cut to the chase and go for the big Soviet command economy.

At times like these, it helps to remember the sage words of Boy George: Calmer, calmer, calmer, calmer, calmer, chameleon. You come and go. The market is forever.

And this Harvard economist calls all the talk of financial Armageddon "ridiculous scare-mongering."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

HE WAS ALREADY fast becoming one of my favorite bloggers, but Ross Douthat has cemented my loyalty with this post, in which he calls Mariano Rivera "deadly and elegant."

He's wrong about 2001 -- it was of course November, not October. And he says he hated the Yankees dynasty, so he's probably a Red Sox fan. But respect for Rivera trumps all that. Welcome to the blogroll.

In related news, yes, the Yankees are not going to the playoffs. The KC will be rooting for the Cubs until they are eliminated, and thereafter uninterested in baseball until next April.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

IN A PROFILE of Alexis Stewart, The New York Post asks, "How did Martha Stewart end up with Howard Stern's baby?"
Alexis calls her mother “Martha,” a habit she says was born in adulthood from so frequently being in crowds with her and feeling mortified at having to shout “Mom!” into the throng. Sometimes she’ll refer to her as “Mothra,” which seems to crystallize her conception of her mother as a thing that is willful, persistent, and more than a little scary, but, like Godzilla’s winged nemesis, too humorous to be treated with any real scorn.
To my great disappointment, we do not get the Fine Living Network, so I won't be able to watch Whatever, Martha. But I'm hopeful that the show will be a big hit and go to DVD, or at least iTunes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

MARK STEYN on the AIG bailout:
The old line on imprudent debt went something like: If you owe the bank a thousand dollars, you have a problem; if you owe the bank a million dollars, the bank has a problem. We seem to have casually accepted the extension of the paradigm: If the bank loans you a million dollars, the bank has a problem. If the bank loans you a billion dollars, the US government has a problem. But why? Short-term "turmoil" (ie, change and opportunity) in the markets would seem preferable to Washington buying a junk portfolio for every federal taxpayer.
More discussion at Dealbreaker.

UPDATE: Dean Jens says it's a pretty good deal for taxpayers: "When I first heard that the Fed was lending a bunch of money to AIG, I was disappointed. When I read these terms, I wanted to hug Bernanke."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

BRILLIANT: "He cursed my mom, which is something I would never do to his mom, because she doesn't play," [Pedro] Martinez said.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

FACT-CHECKING some of the Palin rumors, here.

Wikipedia manipulation, here, via InstaPundit, who also warns Republicans against "launching a cult of Sarah Palin":
She's the V.P. pick, not the head of the ticket. She's still a relative newcomer to national politics. She's virtually sure to commit at least one major mistake between now and November. And -- yes, I know I said this before -- she's the V.P. pick, not the head of the ticket.

The Dems built a cult around Barack Obama. It energized some folks, but it ultimately backfired. Republicans might want to restrain themselves just a bit, here.

Agreed. She will make mistakes, and given the coverage of her so far, it's safe to say that those mistakes will not go unremarked-upon.

Monday, September 08, 2008

MSNBC, AFTER months of what a senior staff member calls "behaving like a heroin addict," tries to give up the smack.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

TAKEOVER TIME at Fannie and Freddie:
“Government support needs to be either explicit or nonexistent, and structured to resolve the conflict between public and private purposes,” Mr. Paulson said. “We will make a grave error if we don’t use this time out to permanently address the structural issues presented by the G.S.E.’s,” he added, a reference to the companies as government-sponsored enterprises.
This quote is an indication that Paulson gets it.

Meanwhile, Freddie may have overstated its capital cushion.
A LEFT-LEANING BRIT on Sarah Palin and the left:
But instead of protecting their precious advantage, [the Democrats] succumbed to a spasm of hatred and threw the vase, the crockery, the cutlery and the kitchen sink at an obscure politician from Alaska.

In an age when politics is choreographed, voters watch out for the moments when the public-relations facade breaks down and venom pours through the cracks. Their judgment is rarely favourable when it does. Barack Obama knows it. All last week, he was warning American liberals to stay away from the Palin family. He understands better than his supporters that it is not a politician's enemies who lose elections, but his friends.
And Lisa Schiffren observes, regarding the size of Palin's family:
A woman running for office with five kids is a bad mother, the msm have established. But a man who ran for national office with ten kids at home, including a six month-old, and a pregnant wife — became a hero, a martyr, and an icon to which all dreams of what liberalism might have been were attached for a generation. Was Robert F. Kennedy ever vilified for ignoring his family? Did anyone sneer at his failure to abort or use contraception? No and no.
And John Podhoretz looks at an article in the NYT on Palin's religious views.

Finally, Ross Douthat takes on Jacob Weisberg's suggestion that the pro-life agenda threatens the two-parent family (follow-up here).

I was considerably cooler toward the Palin pick last week than I am now. The turning point was the three hours I spent in front of CNN in the Miami airport Friday night, during which I observed the spectacle of a media driven out of its collective mind by this . . . thing, this icky redneck from Alaska who has no experience and only appeals to the base and didn't really sell that jet on eBay and didn't go to Harvard and hasn't given a major interview and, and . . . only appeals to the base, dammit, not ordinary decent American women who can see through this hick sideshow!

And as the snickering and sneering went on, I liked her more and more.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I'M ON vacation this week, but I must link to this post by Ross Douthat, with which I am in complete agreement:
[I]n modern America, out-of-control reproduction is something that's associated, to be blunt, with white-trash culture - with Jerry Springer and the trailer park. Sarah Palin has the potential to be perceived and portrayed as a working-class heroine - as an impressive working mother who has both her personal and professional spheres under control. But she and her family also have the potential to be perceived and portrayed as something straight out of reality television: As a sideshow act, rather than as role models for working America. That's the line that her candidacy is walking: We'll know soon which it's going to tip.
I haven't been dialed in to the chatter much since the Palin pick was announced, but I started to feel a bit queasy about her when I read her kids' names, which recall Cletus Spuckler's children from The Simpsons.

And I can't get as excited about this teenage pregnancy as the religious right seems to be. Apparently young Bristol and her husband-to-be are the new rock stars of the conservative movement. Sorry; I find that baffling. Governor Palin had better give an amazing speech tomorrow night. (And I may just come in from the pool early enough to watch it.)