August 29, 2005

they spoke of gold in the cellar

Sarah Soderlund, That Sunday That Summer

* top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"5. Republican Gun-Jumpers

"Two curious cases of mistaken identity were revealed last week, both perpetrated by dumbass Republicans who were way too quick to pounce when they smelled political blood in the water.

"First, Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Rick Graber, along with local GOP lawmakers Rep. Jeff Stone and Sen. Joe Leibham, staged a news conference outside a Milwaukee home in order to decry voter fraud. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 'The politicians didn't release names, but their presence implicated the private home that formed the news conference backdrop.'

"Just one problem - there was never any evidence that the couple who own the home, Stuart and Gayle Schenk, were involved in voter fraud. Nor was there any evidence to implicate their son, Joseph, who is currently in Chicago studying to join the Franciscan order of the Roman Catholic Church. Whoops. Still, it was nice of the Wisconsin Republican Party to make them look like a bunch of crooks.

"The second tale of mistaken identity is more serious. Earlier this month Fox News ran a report on a suspected "'Islamic radical' living in La Habra, CA. And Fox News being Fox News, they actually gave out the address of his home live on air.

"If only Fox News had checked their facts (yeah, right). See, it turns out that the 'Islamic radical' Fox fingered actually moved out of the house three years ago. Currently living in the house are Randy and Ronnell Vorick, who, as far as anyone knows, are neither Islamic nor radical.

"Still, it hasn't stopped local wankers from shouting profanities at them on the street. The Voricks have also enjoyed the privilege of having someone spray-paint the word 'terrorist' on their front of their house - spelled, if you can believe it, 'terrist.' And now they're living under police protection.

"Ah, Fox News, that bastion of quality broadcasting. And their viewers are such nice people too."

* Krugman on Greenspan. excerpt:

"These days Mr. Greenspan expresses concern about the financial risks created by 'the prevalence of interest-only loans and the introduction of more-exotic forms of adjustable-rate mortgages.' But last year he encouraged families to take on those very risks, touting the advantages of adjustable-rate mortgages and declaring that 'American consumers might benefit if lenders provided greater mortgage product alternatives to the traditional fixed-rate mortgage.'

"If Mr. Greenspan had said two years ago what he's saying now, people might have borrowed less and bought more wisely. But he didn't, and now it's too late. There are signs that the housing market either has peaked already or soon will. And it will be up to Mr. Greenspan's successor to manage the bubble's aftermath.

"How bad will that aftermath be? The U.S. economy is currently suffering from twin imbalances. On one side, domestic spending is swollen by the housing bubble, which has led both to a huge surge in construction and to high consumer spending, as people extract equity from their homes. On the other side, we have a huge trade deficit, which we cover by selling bonds to foreigners. As I like to say, these days Americans make a living by selling each other houses, paid for with money borrowed from China.

"One way or another, the economy will eventually eliminate both imbalances. But if the process doesn't go smoothly - if, in particular, the housing bubble bursts before the trade deficit shrinks - we're going to have an economic slowdown, and possibly a recession. In fact, a growing number of economists are using the 'R' word for 2006."

* The Mark E. Smith handwriting font. [via]


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