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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Automotive Bailout: Two Things 

I love it when NPR or CNN refers to Chrysler and the unnamed "private equity firm" that bought it in 2005. That's because the firm in question is called Cerberus. You know – the three-headed demon hound guarding the gates of hell. I can't imagine why they don't want their name associated with the apocalyptic meltdown of the US economy. (TPCQ: "We're talking the original dog from hell." "You mean Cerberus?") Also, I just found out via the Wikipedia article there that Dan Quayle has been working with Cerberus for years. Good to see he's keeping busy.

Now, for the more important point about the bailout: As Naomi Klein pointed out with regard to the Wall Street bailout, the relevant question isn't so much "Should there be a bailout or not?" Instead, we need to ask: "What sort of bailout are we talking about? What will the conditions be?" We basically gave Wall Street a blank check and told them to keep up the good work. Should we do the same thing with Detroit? Of course not – but that's not our only option. Let's set up an analogy.

Dave is a guy who works in an office. Makes a good living, loves his wife and kids. One day, Dave gets high on crystal meth and takes his family savings into the casino. He blows the lot on craps, and leaves broke. Should his kids pay for his bad decision? Of course not. Should the community help mom and the kids eat, pay the bills, and get back on their feet? Sure, that's what communities are all about. However, Dave needs to go immediately into drug rehab and Gambler's Anonymous. He needs help, and he needs to change his behavior.

Suppose Dave's older brother Mike is the one who helps the family out in their time of need. It's not outrageous for Mike to set the terms of his assistance: "I'll help you, Dave, but you can't go near a casino until you pay me back and earn back your trust." Remember that scene in Parenthood? The British government, after all, required companies to rein in executive pay and dividends. Seems obvious to me.

You betcha

They're offering Sarah Palin $7 million for a book. It's a good deal for the publisher – all they have to do is take one of Sean Hannity's afterbirths, swap out some pronouns, and they're all set. Palin can't even read – I'll bet the ghostwriters are almost done with the rough draft already.

Personally, I find Palin fascinating at this point. She's a breathing example of style devoid of substance – and what traction she's finding around the country! It's an object lesson in how not to be a real American, while swearing violently about one's own patriotic bona fides.

Everyone's talking about her getting a talk show or whatever, but that doesn't really interest me. The reason is that she'd be talking to just a small part of the US, like Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly or a hundred other people who tell the narrow-minded what they already believe to be true. No, I like seeing her try to speak to all of us; trying to compete in the global marketplace of ideas, where it sorta does matter what you say, not just how you say it. It's like Dan Quayle yelling "Endive! Endive! Endive! Endive! Endive! Endive! Endive! Endive!"

Building a cabinet

Man, he's talking about letting Hillary be Secretary of State. I can hear the sniper fire already! Kissinger says she's do a great job. That's reason enough to throw her file in the trash.

Now I hear he's going to make Eric Holder the Attorney General, despite the fact that he represented Chiquita Banana after they were busted paying millions to paramilitary death squads in Colombia! (Meanwhile, all NPR is talking about is the Marc Rich pardon.) It's like Obama's trying to see how much hope he can drain out of us.



We like the moon! At least the freakish mutant hamsters would never sell us out. Oh, wait.

Today I'm listening to: CIM!