Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Missed BBQ and Dissed Dinner for One -OR- Mother Marcus Provides Structural Support

The yard at 1711 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 4:28PM August 3, 2013. I like the little Japanese stone lantern object in the corner.

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It's already 6:08PM as I start this entry and I haven't made it to that BBQ on Upshur Street that I mentioned in the last entry. This is partly because I got up so late and then had some choirs to do (chiefly, going to Dupont Circle CVS to get a prescription, going grocery shopping at the Safeway on 17th Street) after I got ready (which alone takes me a full hour what with all the usual ablutions).

I'm just not sure about going, esp. since I sort of want to do other things this Saturday night. I'm just not sure what. I'd like to go to Chadwicks in Georgetown and sit at the upstairs bar for a bit before heading back to Dupont and then to Nellie's.

Oh, yes, I went to Old Ebbitt Grill last night down by the White House, but this time it kind of sucked. The Old Bar bartender / waiter I normally get was too busy chatting up two Bulgarian girls in their 20s -- self-absorbed and flippin' all around annoying Eastern European sex kitten types who are (culturally speaking) more flippin' "American" than I ever will be -- to pay me any mind. 

Later, I went to No. 9, where I had a nice chat with the security guy, Patrick, who is sort of a friend of mine. I got home by 130AM in time to watch The Honeymooners on Me TV.

I went to sleep but didn't finally get up until about twelve hours later.

It is an overcast, humid, but NOT uncomfortably warm evening, although at this point I'm in my wee efficiency with the window a/c cranked up. I think I have enough duct tape holding the sheet in the entrance way to keep it (the sheet) up for the time being.

Temps reached about 82F today with dew points in the 60F to 65F range under cloudy skies.

Lastly, I would like to link to this Paul Krugman blog entry that notes a Dean Baker / CEPR entry on the bullsh!t being peddled by The Washington Consensus Crowd, i.e., (in Paul Krugman's great phraseology) the Very Serious People, also known as The Washington Post Editorial Board and larger Beltway pundit courtier class, lapdogs to the American corporate oligarchical 0.01% over-class.

Specifically, the CEPR entry discusses the appearance of Ruth "Mother" Marcus of The WaHoPo Editorial Board and David Brooks of The New York Times on the worthless PBS NewsHour to discuss the purported "structural" changes that mean the current unemployment rate in America is now "just right" -- rather than driven by weak macro-scale demand and a human tragedy destroying the lives of millions of Americans that could be alleviated by stimulating demand in a basic Keynesian way.


Mother Marcus spends most of her days (much like Ben Wittes and Sebastian Mallaby, her predecessor WaHoPo editorial writers) deep in the Washington Consensus circle jerk crowd, contently grazing and chewing her cud at this or that think tank panel discussion in between penning the unsigned editorials in The WaHoPo (with the approval of Fred Hiatt and his plantation master, Don Graham) on why the "solution" to America's problems is to have both "structural and entitlement reforms" (i.e., abolishing Social Security and giving all that money to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street crooks, and in general afflicting the working poor even more while slashing already miniscule taxes on the superrich and giving mega-billion dollar corporations still more giveaways).

Unemployment rates in the four "Sand" States, specifically, Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada, (i.e., those with the biggest real estate busts) and other states, 2000 - 2013. This shows the states with the biggest real estate busts have also had the biggest improvement (drops in their rates of unemployment) in the past few years -- which is what you would expect in a cyclical situation rather than one involving big and mysterious structural changes to the "natural" unemployment rate over the past decade.

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She and Brooks appeared on The PBS NewsHour to give their UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY WRONG assessment that the current high rates of unemployment and underemployment in America are "structural" rather than due to persistent weak demand in the face of the still-incomplete deleveraging shock following the real estate financial bubble.

Marcus -- who is a bad tempered old cow even on the best of days -- knows nothing about her supposed topics of budget and economics. In this way, she embodies the chief features of The WaHoPo Editorial Board (both now and in its late 1990s / early 2000s incarnation): Being wrong about everything all while banging the neocon war drums for the sake of the Empire and its Oligarchy.

You may remember that Mother Marcus is easily "stopped cold" by anything that violates the Washington Consensus. But she is totally unaware of how little she actually knows.

As for Brooks, he is (like Krugman) a New York Times op-ed columnist, but he reflects Received Washington Conventional Wisdom. He's not an offensive rightwinger so much as a corporate tool who often doesn't know what he's talking about. He and Krugman are forever obliquely criticizing each other (since The Grey Lady has a policy forbidding columnists from attacking each other openly).

As for the PBS NewsHour, it has long sucked, having turned many years ago into little more than a corporate whorefest for the Beltway elites. It has sucked ever since Robert MacNeil departed all those years ago, leaving the dyspeptic rightwinger Jim "We'll have full coverage" Lehrer and the prim-and-proper doyenne Judy Woodruff, the equally prim-and-proper Margaret Warner, Gwen Ifill, Ray Suarez, and correspondents such as unctuous Uncle Kwame to fill in.

OK, that's all for now. I'm not sure I'll be able to post a jukebox Saturday night entry. I'll try.

--Regulus

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