Sunday, August 03, 2008


The internet really is really great.

Did you know that there are, right now, in Yemen, numerous seven-story buildings clustered tightly together, like in Manhattan dude, that are made out of mud and that have been standing for 500 years?

Neither did I, but now I do, thanks to the internet and some idle moments on an early August Sunday afternoon, my belly swollen with pudding.

Hat tip should go to Whimsley.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Going After McCain

A lot of people on the left want Barack Obama to go after John McCain in the spirit of Josh Marshall's "Bitchslap Theory of American Politics."

I'm among them -- I wish he'd go after him in a substantive way, but aggressively. McCain is a terrible candidate and would be a terrible president and there's no reason Obama or his surrogates shouldn't point this out.

I was wondering why I feel this way, however. I think the answers is that there are SO MANY OPENINGS AT WHICH TO GO AFTER MCCAIN.

The dude just leaves himself open to this stuff.


So the governator is slashing payroll. This is a foretaste of the cuts in actual funding he's eager to make.

My impression is that we're all sort of living our lives in California, rolling with the punches, distantly aware of a budget crisis, not sure what it all means, but the effects of actions like these are going to start pressing in on us in the near term, especially if the governor gets his way.

I don't think very many people understand how sharply they're going to press, how badly our education system is going to suffer, how badly our infrastructure will suffer, how much the poor will suffer, how much the ill will suffer, how much law enforcement will suffer.

And I don't blame the governor -- I expect he would raise taxes if he could; he's hinted at it and it makes sense -- but the Republican party in our state, like a bunch of automatons, mindlessly addicted to a dead idea, are holding the budget process and the administration of the state hostage.

Given those circumstances, what the governor is doing is something like honorable. It seems to me that we are on the path to rehabilitating the publics understanding of taxes. There's this meme out there that taxes go to nothing but waste. People seem to really believe that no good can come of raising taxes. At the very least that's an talking point the right uses fairly often.

"Do you think the government knows how to spend this money better than the taxpayer?"

But until we start experiencing firsthand the real meaning of tax cuts and revenue shortfalls, we won't understand that taxes serve a legitimate and pragmatic purpose.

You want fire stations? You pay taxes. There's just no way to get around this.

If we can get through these tough times with the result being a mandate to sensibly fund the government, we'll have gone a long way toward discrediting the supply siders and the reactionary libertarians for a good long time.

And that's the optimistic take on a situation that could take a turn for the tragic.