Music

It’s been up for a month or so now, but this latest ‘Buddy Channel’ podcast mix, ‘Badjacket’, is especially good. All over the map in the best ways. Check it out and turn it up. Just click the icon under the ‘Surfin’ listings. If you need to download his player, go ahead – the DL is quick and the file is small.

Politics

Well, I watched a little TV news after work today, and it’s apparently open season on Sarah Palin. This poor, well-intentioned woman is going to be hammered. I have that picture in my mind of David Letterman, standing crouched, hands on his knees, taking a long, slow exhalation with that look on his face.

Now, don’t get me wrong. They’re not after my vote anyway. Politically, I don’t like her. Nope. She’s pro-war, pro-gun, anti-abortion, anti-science, anti-gay marraige, pro-oil industry… it’s a whole carnivorous C.V. of conservative bullet-headed, mouth-breathing wrong-headedness. But do you know who else had this resume? Mike Huckabee. And, while I’d never waste a vote of any kind on any part of his agenda, I genuinely thought he classed up the joint during the Republican primaries. I liked having him around. He seemed unfailingly gracious, positive, and unflappable. Almost…(gulp)…statesmanlike. Aside from the issues, and sides taken thereof, did you really like any of the other ‘pub candidates? Giuliani? Romney? Graham? (Not Graham, Hunter! Can’t keep those guys straight…!) Tancredo?

So that’s my hope for Sarah Palin. That she’ll be gracious, well-spoken, good-humored, well-informed, resilient, and classy. What’s she gonna do, turn down the gig? Say no thanks? Because, let’s face it, if they think they’re going to draw off the Pro-Hillary pro-war, pro-gun, anti-abortion, anti-science, anti-gay marraige, pro-oil industry Democrats, then sheep don’t have pubic hair. They don’t really want Hillary’s votes (although a few of those dopes from PUMA and some other pseudo-feminist dilletantes will follow along regardless) – they want the bedrock, conservative Christian Republican base back underneath them. And while I think declaring yourself an Evangelical Christian should be grounds for disqualification from public office, I’m nonetheless delighted that we’ll have more to talk about over the next few months than McCain-Pawlenty or McCain-Romney.

So God bless you, Sarah Palin. You may be the new Dan Quayle, but you’re our new Dan Quayle.

Sports

Jay Mariotti’s former colleague at the Sun-Times, Roger Ebert, sends Jay off appropriately:

Dear Jay,

What an ugly way to leave the Sun-Times. It does not speak well for you. Your timing was exquisite. You signed a new contract, waited until days after the newspaper had paid for your trip to Beijing at great cost, and then resigned with a two-word e-mail: “I quit.” You saved your explanation for a local television station.

As someone who was working here for 24 years before you arrived, I think you owed us more than that. You owed us decency. The fact that you saved your attack for TV only completes our portrait of you as a rat.

Newspapers are not dead, Jay, and this paper will not die because you have left. Times are hard in the newspaper business, and for the economy as a whole. Did you only sign on for the luxury cruise?

There’s an old saying that you might have come across once or twice on the sports beat: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Newspapers are not dead, Jay, because there are still readers who want the whole story, not a sound bite. If you go to work for television, viewers may get a little weary of you shouting at them. You were a great shouter in print, that’s for sure, stomping your feet when owners, coaches and players didn’t agree with you. It was an entertaining show. Good luck getting one of your 1,000-word rants on the air.

The rest of us are still at work, still putting out the best paper we can. We believe in our profession, and in the future. And we believe in our internet site, which you also whacked as you slithered out the door. I don’t know how your column was doing, but we have the most popular sports section in Chicago. The reports and blog entries by our Washington editor Lynn Sweet have become a must-stop for millions of Americans in this election year. After a recent blog entry I wrote about the Beijing Olympics, I woke up at 5 a.m. one morning, when North America was asleep, and found that 40 percent of my 100 most recent visitors had been from China. I don’t have any complaints about our web site. So far this month my web page has been visited from almost every country on earth, including one visit from the Vatican City. The Pope, no doubt. Hope you were doing as well.

You have left us, Jay, at a time when the newspaper is once again in the hands of people who love newspapers and love producing them. You managed to stay here through the dark days of the thieves Conrad Black and David Radler. The paper lost millions. Incredibly, we are still paying Black’s legal fees.

I started here when Marshall Field and Jim Hoge were running the paper. I stayed through the Rupert Murdoch regime. I was asked, “How can you work for a Murdoch paper?”
My reply was: “It’s not his paper. It’s my paper. He only owns it.”

That’s the way I’ve always felt about the Sun-Times, and I still do. On your way out, don’t let the door bang you on the ass.

Your former colleague,
Roger Ebert

Economics

I fear most people (and I’m somewhat guilty as well) will find this article pretty dry. But there are some thought-provoking nuggets in here, and overall it’s a fascinating overview of the mechanics of the American economic system over the last forty years.

“At a meeting concerned with green technology this June in Washington, D.C., I pointed out Obama’s linkage of Iraq War savings to the new monies that could be spent on alternative energy—the Iraq War peace dividend. A Congressman pointed out to me that there will be no such dividend as the war was paid for by the Chinese (among others).”

“European countries like Sweden and Finland have done relatively well by combining welfare states, government support of retraining and R&D, with high growth economies. High taxes did not limit growth. Government regulations, linked to Nordic specifications for mobile telephony for example, actually helped spur companies like Nokia and Ericsson. In the case of the Swedish-based Ericsson, Televerket (a quasi-governmental phone company) was a critical partner firm that was actually a key to the Swedish telephonic giant’s growth. None of this matters, however, because it does not fit into the mantra: markets are pro-growth and government and taxation are not.”

“It’s not enough to say, as (David) Leonhardt (N.Y Times) and Democratic Party reformers do, that firms sometimes succeed but sometimes fail (and have to be regulated as a result). The problem is that markets have to be designed. There are good designs and bad ones. Sometimes the key designers work in the government, sometimes they are consumers and other times producers. It’s far more important to discuss the designs of markets than to discuss the abstract trade offs between too much government and too little markets.”

http://www.counterpunch.org/feldman08232008.html