Friday, January 11, 2008

The mainstream press is known, on the blogs, for its obsession with trivialities. A lot of blogs, in turn, have obsessions of their own --- like the hopeless presidential bid of libertarian Ron Paul. Thus, if you were only reading the mainstream press, you would be completely unaware that Paul's campaign just became absolutely hopeless. Which, of course, it was already. But more so.

What's fueling the tempest in this particular teacup is sudden publicity for a lot of ugly, blatantly racist screeds that were published over Paul's signature in the '80s (without his involvement, he claims); the newsletters have long been out of view, though well known to libertarian "thought leaders" all the while. In the meantime, Jim Henley suggests, anent Paul's own plea for his supporters to please just start talking about something else, the following maxim:

When mired in a specifically racial controversy, avoid likening your enemies to “Orcs.”
But reading the same thing, I'm more taken by who Paul is likening to the orcs who libertarian paladins-in-their-own-minds should dedicate themselves to beating back: is the time to stick together like the brothers and sisters we are, to stand side by side in this fight against the media toadies, warmongers, and Wall Street rip-off artists who stand against us, and who always remind me of Tolkein's Orcs.
One reason that the "Wall Street rip-off artists" have gotten more pernicious over the past few years is deregulation that was signed into law by that arch-Libertarian Bill Clinton, who, in particular, erased the distinction between deposit banks and financiers (put in place in the 1930s as a remedy for past abuse that was well-known back then). And the further deregulation of the Libertarian non-government that Paul wants to put in place of what we have could only empower the "orcs" even more.

Well, as a lefty myself, I'll say one thing for Libertarianism. Leftist opponents of a Libertarian state wouldn't have to worry much at all about heightening the contradictions...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wondering how Wall Street titans like Citigroup and Merill Lynch are dealing with the losses from defaults on all the bad mortgages they bought? Well, in part, they're selling themselves to foreign governments (through "sovereign wealth funds") --- in part because, as one article explains, they think they may be able to skirt reporting requirements that way:

Under one theory, sovereign-wealth funds should be regarded as government entities, not companies or investors --- and therefore the Bank Holding Company Act and other laws wouldn't apply in the same fashion.
Because right around now, they really don't want more regulatory attention adding to their troubles. The article quotes a lobbyist who has dealt with the regulatory aspects of these deals:
The goal is to get a [page] B6 story in the Wall Street Journal and have no one mention it.
Well, if that's the goal, it's not working out. That quote appeared itself, with the article I'm quoting, in the Wall Street Journal --- on page A1, above the fold.

Other articles on the investments, without paywalls, can be found elsewhere...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Lefty blogs complain a lot about the mainstream media's focus on manufactured incidents and junior-high-school level gossip. A few right now are taking time off from that to observe that when John Edwards reacted to second-hand reports of Hillary Clinton getting emotional about something, he didn't seem very nice.

While you're pondering the deep and lasting significance of this singularly important event, here's something to bear in mind: the political wisdom of Leo Durocher. The Democratic leadership we have in Congress right now, like the Giants team that Leo famously mocked in 1946, is full of nice guys who can't win a thing. If electing something different turns out to be what it takes to get a different result, I can live with that.

The bloggers at RedState need a lot of coding work done. But while liberal web sites can call on programmers to fix things up for free (or so they apparently believe), they will have to pay. So, if you follow that link, you'll see an emergency appeal for funds to pay for coding work. Work which they have already begun, before anyone gave them a dime.

In short, they've got pie-in-the-sky plans for their web site, and they don't have the money to pay for them, but they're doing it anyway. Does this go against their political philosophy? Not at all. Just look at the way their party has been running the government. It's the conservative thing to do.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

One of the more, dare I say, uplifting bits from the last season of Sex and the City came when Samantha, giving a speech while under chemo for breast cancer, whipped off her wig in the middle --- revealing her real, nearly-bald head, and prompting other cancer patients in the crowd to do the same. And to stop trying to hide what they are, and take some pride in it.

Not everyone involved with the show has gotten the message. The movie sequel, shot last fall, is going to be the year's least noticed digital special effects extravaganza, because the point of the effects in this case is to keep things off the screen --- most notably, all signs of aging from the faces and bodies of the main characters in closeups.

(Believe it or not, this comes via the movie's own official blog.)