Saturday, July 12, 2008

Brad DeLong is Shrill (But We Knew That Already)

It's unfortunate that the demands on my time the last couple of years have reduced the number of worthwhile blogs that I read, Professor DeLong's being one of them. So I was happy to be reminded of not only how right he can be but also how funny by Kevin Drum. After being asked on very short notice to be a talking head on BBC/Newsnight, he found out that he was on with Grover Norquist...

I trot over to the J-School TV studio as part of the sober, sensible, bipartisan consensus, intending to carry water for Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson.

And what do I find also on BBC/Newsnight when I get there?


  • Barack Obama wants to take your money by raising your taxes and pay it to the Communist Chinese.
  • Oil prices are high today and the economy is in a near recession because of Nancy Pelosi: before Nancy Pelosi became speaker economic growth was fine--and she is responsible for high oil prices too.
  • Economic growth is stalling because congress has not extended the Bush tax cuts. Congress needs to extend the Bush tax cuts, and if it does then that will fix the economy, and if it doesn't then the economy cannot recover.

I am not paid enough to deal with this lying bullshit. I am not paid enough to deal with Grover Norquist and his willful stream of defecation into the global information pool.

Now go back and read that line again, only in the voice of Samuel L. Jackson in his Jules Winnfield character from "Pulp Fiction" and it's even better. Fuckin' A, brah! Of course, Winnfield would proceed to pull out his piece and shoot Norquist in both kneecaps, an activity that I cannot in good conscience advocate, but it would not bother me in the least to see Mr. Norquist get a nice cream pie in the face.

Brad reminds us of the obvious ploy that the Repuglicans have used quite successfully for at least the last 15 years - pick a problem, say teen pregnancy, that everyone will agree is a bad thing. Now pick something totally unrelated that you favor - say making the Bush tax cuts permanent. Now claim far and wide that the problem you've picked (teen pregnancy) is getting worse (it has actually declined, but that doesn't matter), blame it on liberals, claim the thing you favor (tax cuts) will improve things, and step back and watch it work. In no time the mediots on the cable news channels will be asking Obama why he doesn't care about teen pregnancy since he's not for extending the tax cuts. We're so fucked.

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Our Top Story Tonight...

...Jesse Helms is still dead!

I'm still waiting for zombie Jesse to show up and start eating brains (only white heterosexual brains of course) - no doubt zombie Jesse would still get the votes of just enough North Carolinians to slip in for another term.



I'm not the world's best sleeper. Actually my whole family has had a history of poor sleep, including my sister's sleepwalking (which my nephew inherited) and Dad's snoring and apnea (which unfortunately *I* inherited). Between loud snoring, teeth grinding and apnea, I haven't gotten many good night's sleep in the last 30 years (and consequently JennySlash has had very few in the last 24). Things seem to have gotten worse for me over the last 3-4 years, to the point where I *never* wake up refreshed and it's affected my ability to concentrate for good chunks of the day. I figure that if I'm successful professionally now with as little good sleep as I get, I'll be taking over the world if I can actually get some rest.

Given the ever-increasing evidence that apnea can be a major contributor to high blood pressure, stroke and other life-shortening ailments, I finally decided to do something about it, starting with a visit to the Neurology Clinic at the UNC Hospitals. Took off mid-morning Thursday and let me tell you, if you don't spend a lot of time around the hospital down there on South Campus, it's a maze of construction tape, barrels, cranes, hard hats, construction vehicles and barricades. What's funny is that it's pretty much been like that as long as I can remember. It took quite awhile to find a parking space and I had barely starting filling out the ubiquitous form-on-the-clipboard when it was time to see the doctor. We spent a bit of time going over history and daily details and went ahead and made an appointment for a sleepover while waiting for the attending to be available. He was quite thorough with the physical part of the exam, keeping up a running commentary for the intern. He then used the paper on the examining bench to diagram out the likely physical causes of apnea and the possible treatments, the CPAP machine (or the Darth Vader mask as I usually call it) being the most likely. Of course you can't talk to a doctor without talking about lifestyle changes and it's no surprise that I'm going to have to resign myself to radically cutting back on how much beer I'm consuming. As I emailed Lex the other day, it wouldn't be so bad if beer sucked, but alas...

So Sunday I'll be off to the hospital to spend the evening watching TV and the night with them watching me. I'm not sure if I'll have internet access from the room, but I'll definitely have a laptop with me so I'll post updates if I can get on the 'nets.

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