Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Which is it?

"This bill does not control costs,"
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

"especially for a bill that would affect one-sixth of the American economy."
Orrin Hatch,Republican senator from Utah.

Is there some way to control costs without affecting one-sixth of the American economy?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Remembering Jim Metcalf*

As a young man in New Orleans -- a poser and a fuck-up -- I got laughed at while reading Jim Metcalf out loud to girls more than any other poet; more than Lord Byron, more than Rod McKuen even.

I normally leave the making fun of Chris Rose to Jeffrey, but, when you get to be my age, it's good to remind yourself that few things in this world are more pathetic than a middle-aged man telling anyone who'll listen about his past studliness:
As a young man in New Orleans — a poseur and a rake — I got laid while reading Barry Hannah out loud to girls more than any other writer; more than Dorothy Parker, more than Pablo Neruda even.

  Writers like that tend to make a lasting impression. I wanted to be Barry Hannah — back then and sometimes now — all wild, indifferent, frighteningly talented and sexed-up. But I couldn't carry Barry Hannah's jock.

At least he tempers his bragging with a slight dose of humility. But, his ostensible paean to beloved dead writer still ends up a psalm of Chris Rose's coolness:
I have a family now, also. There are young writers who think it would be really cool to get faced with me. But time and words change a man. For instance, I have not gotten drunk and fired a gun inside of a house in over 10 years, and it's been more than a year since I last saw the inside of a jail cell.

  I am 49 and I have never caught a significant fish. The avenue of regard is wider than I can fathom. Yes, time and words change a man.

  Tonight, I will read some Barry Hannah to soothe my restless writer's soul.

  My chances of getting laid while doing so are zero.

I won't be getting laid tonight either, but I'll be reading Ralph Gomory and William Baumol. Who knows, if I'm still blogging in twenty-five years, I might write:
As a middle-aged man...I won more economic debates, impressing more women, and ultimately getting laid by quoting Gomory and Baumol more than any other economists; more than Robert Kuttner, more than Joseph Stiglitz even.

It would be pathetic bullshit, of course, but the kind of bullshit people tolerate...when it comes from an old man.

*Not really about Jim Metcalf, but if you're about my age and from New Orleans, your mother probably watched his TV show, which wasn't bad. Form your own opinion about his poetry.

Monday, March 08, 2010

A walk though Old Metairie

I took a walk though Old Metairie Sunday and noticed a surprising number of blue and white signs with S/H written on them -- signs that looked like this. I saw three or four on just the two block stretch of one of the "wood" streets between Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies and the railroad tracks. There were more in the neighborhood. I thought it was worth mentioning.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Should a conservative reformer vote for Jay Batt?

A slightly edited and expanded comment that I left at the Library Chronicles

I missed the beginning of "Politics with a Punch" last night, did Jeff Crouere explain why he had Batt as a guest but not Guidry? If I understood Batt correctly, fiscal conservatives have the ability to pay for government services while eliminating sources of government revenue, especially unpopular sources of revenue like parking tickets and traffic cameras.

Anyway, I still think that Nagin forfeited any right to say NIMBY when he went to Jamaica before discussing FEMA trailer placement, but BATT was cynical enough in his handling of the situation to even impress me. The District A locations that he suggested were as far as possible from District A residents as any location that were technically in District A could possibly be, e.g. near the corner of Sere and Encampment. A small part of District A is on the eastern side of Bayou St. John bordering Districts C & D, and a very small part of that small part juts to the north to be surrounded by District D on three sides. In other words, Batt said, "You can put FEMA trailers in my district, just put them next to Cynthia's constituents." It's not often that I stand in awe of somebody else's cynicism.

I've started to write about this several times over the last couple of weeks, but I've been reticent to bring up the racial angle. Still, considering the racial divisiveness of reform issues, I can't for the life of me figure out why a sincerely reform minded voter would vote for the established pol with baggage over the fresh face.

What it comes down to is, if I were a conservative (which I'm not) and pro-Reform (which I am, albeit with reservations about the meaninglessness of "Reform" until specific reforms are proposed) would I consider fealty to Chicago School Economics more important than the ability to carry out a reform agenda. Yes, Jay Batt mentioned getting rid of unpopular revenue generators, but do fiscal conservatives really have a magic revenue wand? Does the New Orleans City Council ever have the luxury of debating lowering taxes versus expanding social programs? Can I possibly even begin to imagine any scenario under which it would even remotely begin to matter whether my city council representative was a Keynesian or a Supply-Sider (or a member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute)?

On the other hand, would I really want the "reform as a way to attack established black politicians" shoe to fit? Maybe it wouldn't be fair to Batt, but when you elect somebody to a public office, you hire that person to do a job. If somebody has baggage that might not make him the person for the job, or if hiring that person might cause your firm embarrassment, you try to find a better candidate. I just can't see bringing back another established white politician as being the best move under the circumstances, especially one that can reasonably be accused of being a NIMBYist.

To be clear, I'm by no means suggesting that all white politicians and business interest are pro-reform and all black politicians and business interests are anti-reform. Far from it, on either count. However, anti-reform white interests do have to use different tactics than anti-reform black interests.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Old Favorites
  • Political Boxing (untitled)
  • Did Bush Take His Ball and Go Home
  • Teratogens and Plan B
  • Foghorn Leghorn Republicans
  • BayouBias.com
  • Quote of the Day
  • October's News(Dec.1)
  • untitled, Nov.19 (offshore revenue)
  • Remember Upton Sinclair
  • Oct. Liar of thr month
  • Jindal's True Colors
  • No bid contracts