Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cosmic Record Player

My aging record player, the grey Kenwood KD-1600 sitting on the ground next to my desk with a "HELLO I'm a MULE" sticker affixed to the clear plastic lid, now faintly picks up a Christian radio station when it's not playing. A vague political discussion segued sides A and B of the Talking Head's 77. As I removed Can't Buy a Thrill and placed Rumours on the spindle, a male and female voice recited a prayer accompanied by gentle chanting. Meanwhile what I think may have been a Black Phoebe fooled with its feathers on the tree outside my window.

And on the Internet -

1) Jacob Weisberg claims that libertarianism is dead. Libertarianism, like communism, is an idealistic political philosophy that imagines a radical reorganization of society. Nothing close to that happened in the instant case. Instead we had a gradual relaxation of some regulation, while institutions that libertarians hate - namely the Federal Reserve - remained in place. Weisberg references "wearying dorm-room debates that took place circa 1989 about whether the fall of the Soviet bloc demonstrated the failure of communism." His article reads a lot like one of those dorm-room debates. The failure of the Soviet Union did not render all socialist policies obsolete, just as the failure of Credit Default Swaps does not render all libertarian policies obsolete. Both are silly and harmful if taken to extremes, but that's why we call them extremes. Sometimes government is more efficient and just, sometimes private industry is.

The current economic crisis does show us that deregulation of the financial industry is a very bad idea. If someone told you they had discovered a brilliant new way to make more money than ever before in history simply by applying an innovative math equation to financial transactions, what would you say? You'd say "you're full of shit." And they were. If 100 guys in nice suits from Harvard told bankers everywhere the same what would they say? "Put me down for 60 trillion!" Libertarianism, or socialism for that matter, had little to do with it. As a side note, however, it's a good idea not to put your entire economic system in the hands of someone (Alan Greenspan) who takes seriously the teachings of a mad woman (Ayn Rand).

2) Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama today. In doing so he mentioned something that has been bothering me for a while (quoted from Glenn Greenwald's Salon blog):

I'm also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say, and it is permitted to be said such things as: "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is: he is not a Muslim. He's a Christian. He's always been a Christian.

But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is: No, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she can be President?

Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion: he's a Muslim, and he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I agree.


ninquelote said...

I would probably feel better if either candidate got up and said, "While President, I have no religious affiliations of any kind. Neither my judgments nor my feelings will be swayed by any religious publication, person, or entity. All of my policies are based on logic and my personal beliefs as to what is good and useful for the betterment of the United States of America."

Hey! I'd vote for that guy!

This message has been approved by the Ninquelote for President Foundation.

Peter Matthew Reed said...

Yes! New ad:
(Sleazy music)
"John McCain wants to base his policies on stories, thousand-year-old stories, with no evidence." (Clip of McCain saying 'God Bless America")
"Barack Obama is a Christian, and he has famously associated with Jeremiah Wright, a perfectly patriotic raving theologue who believes, in the complete absence of evidence, that a man lives in the sky who might damn America."
(Clip of Obama saying "God Bless America)
(Cut to scene of a woman working in a modern automobile factory)
"Isn't it time that our policies were based on facts, and things we know to be true?"

I'm Peter Reed, and I approve this message.

jason said...

Exactly. How about when that crazy lady said Obama was an Arab, and McCain said, "No ma'am, he's a decent family man!"

I didn't realize the two were mutually exclusive.

Herr Zrbo said...

But Obama's a socialist people, A SOCIALIST!! He wants the government to PAY FOR CERTAIN BASIC SERVICES!! It's a Marxist plot delicately engineered by LIBERO-FASCISTS since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Just wait till we're all singing the Internationale during the next inauguration, you'll see.

ninquelote said...

I can't help but think you're making fun of me, Peter.

ninquelote said...

It's okay though. I can take it.

yoggoth said...

No that is Peter agreeing with you.

Peter Matthew Reed said...

No, yeah I absolutely agree with you. Polls show a equally qualified homosexual is more likely to be voted for than a well qualified atheist.
America is a country where, "God told me to invade," is a good thing to say, not an insane thing to say.

And Herr Zrbo, d'you hear the one about how OBAMA (bin Laden) wants to turn the IRS into a welfare TOOL OF THE SOCIALISTS by cutting TAXES!?

ninquelote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ninquelote said...

Just making sure. It's much funnier when you agree with me.