The silhouetted Washington Monument, 10:24AM, April 23, 2010. This was the day I found out I got the job I now have and I was happy. It is why I was able to remain here in Washington, and to try a bit longer.
Concerning the downgrade by Standard & Poor's of U.S. Treasury Department Dept from AAA to AA+, a few thoughts ...
On the one hand, this is what happens when crazy Teabaggers are in charge and can lead around a wussy, corporate, milquetoast president who still thinks its just a matter of "tweaking" this or that piece of a broken and corrupted system in order to get us back to a 1998-style Robert Rubinesque / Washington Post Editorial Board Consensus economy, and who also thinks he is some sort of present day transformative, combo-pak Christ and Buddha figure.
And still the Obama worshipers openly weep for their messiah.
On the other hand, it is absurd to downgrade the U.S. on multiple levels. It does has a $14.1 trillion dollar economy (and so its current total Federal debt is about the size of its annual income -- which, all things considered, isn't that terrible, and the ratio has been worse before. Think if your own financial situation was like that).
It also still has, like, 5,000 to 10,000 nuclear warheads in various states of readiness, and the world's largest and most awesome military ever assembled able to project power anywhere on this planet at hours' notice, not to mention 312 million citizens (plus about 11 million mostly hardworking illegals who do the nasty shit the rest don't want to do -- just sayin' ...) and surprisingly enduring structures and institutions that have in its 235 year history remade the world.
KAL used to be the cartoonist for the Baltimore Sun, and now he is the cartoonist for The Economist. Quite a jump up.
I'll take that any day to some bullshit AAA rated Wall Street investment house's financial "instruments" that provides nothing of real value. (Yes, I still want to move to Canada, Australia or even New Zealand.)
This brings up another key point: The "Chicago School" ignorant and ideological economists at S&P and these other credit agencies such as Moody's and Fitch are in no position to judge anything, having been wrong about EVERYTHING in the past 20 years.
The always brilliant and wonderful Paul Krugman, who has helped keep me sane in this insane time, had a good take on it on his New York Times blog here. He also quotes what blogger Atrios said:
"Apparently we're supposed to care about what some idiots at some corrupt organization think about anything."
This screwed up organization, along with Moody's, spent the entire 1990s and 2000s, giving their top credit ratings to any piece of garbage financial instrument or scam even as the entire house of cards was building up towards its 2008 crash. More generally, they lent their credibility to so many aspects of the "financialization" of the U.S. economy.
It was that financialization that contributed to the unstable bubble economics and (now) deleveraging shock / liquidity trap with near-zero interest rates that we now find ourselves in and (due to the rule of Teabagger Know Nothing crazies and their corporate oligarchical overlords that WANT deflation and depression).
True, I could see if China (with its frickin' brutal - authoritarian mercantilism, systematic currency manipulation and rampant intellectual theft plus massive cyber-crimes, not to mention its pathological lack of any meaningful environmental sensibilities), Germany*, the U.K., or another comparable NATION had a problem with our debt and likelihood to pay it off.
That's at the nation-state level, not some bullshit organization with no credibility or value. Fuck you, S&P, Moody's, & Fitch and the rest of you. You're all basically souped-up versions of the U.S.'s three credit bureaus: Equifax (Equifux), Experian and TransUnion.
*Germany, of course, has its own problems as does the Europe Union in general with that slow-motion catastrophe that is the Euro, a sort of updated gold standard with all the straitjacket qualities that entails.
In the end, only bought-and-paid-for corporate whores such as James K. Glassman and little robots such as Wall-P will be "impressed" by S&P's credit downgrade.
"THE DOW IS UP - THE DOW IS UP - THE DOW IS UP - THE DOW IS UP ..."
Speaking of Wall-P, it turns out that annual suburban Maryland outings -- two in particular in Rockville -- are off limits to me because EVERYONE on this planet has to kiss that ass first and desires its company and I totally lose out in the end.
Well, you know what? I don't give a damn. I hate all of them, too.
Let's end on a happier note:
It's quite a nice day with a warm, gentle humidity and a due southerly breeze carrying the feel of the distant Atlantic Ocean here to shitty D.C. in August. Temps are around 85F -- not fucking 103F -- and there are puffy clouds in the sky along with the chance (50% chance) of needed showers and t-storms.
Also, today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late, great Lucille Ball -- and Hallmark Channel has an all-day I Love Lucy marathon in commemoration.
BTW, I get a A LOT of blog search hits on the questioning search term "was William Frawley gay?" My sense is that he was but, of course, I can't prove it. Furthermore, even if so, it was a very different time.
Again, to repeat from my earlier entry, it was Lucille Ball herself who approved of the concept of the original Star Trek series that her production company Desilu made. I love that fact so much.
But I'm actually going to try to do something I rarely do on a Saturday these days and get the hell out of the apartment.
OK, that's all for now. I STILL have to post the weather entry about the region-wide record July heat, as well as the new 30-year climate normals that just came out (these are updated every 10 years).