Friday, March 13, 2009

The Lessons of Herbert (And George)

Herbert Hoover and his dismal reign are more instructive than ever nowadays. Conde Nast's has an interesting review of a new Hoover bio, which is worth a few minutes of your time. After acknowledging the clear parallels between W. and Hoover, the author takes us through Hoover's earlier life, where we learn that he was once a competent if dour figure.

Fascinating tidbit:
Hoover’s middle career is one of the great little-known sagas of American history. Based in London at the outbreak of World War I, he set up relief efforts for starving Belgians and displayed a genius for organization. Celebrated for his achievements, he became the U.S.’s wartime “food czar,” prodding the citizenry to economize and dictating flour rations to bakers. He similarly helped war-stricken Austrians, Armenians, and sundry other European tribes—and later, even Bolshevik Russians.

By 1920, Hoover, 46, was an international hero, famed as “the great humanitarian.”

For most of the 1920s, Hoover served as commerce secretary, a backwater that he transformed into a pivotal federal bureau. Governing by fiat, he imposed his will on virtually every nook of American industry. He forced builders to adopt standard-size boards, and airports to install lights on landing strips. Without clear legal authority, he commanded firms to reduce their varieties of products from bedsprings to milk bottles. In 1927, when the Mississippi overran its banks and dislodged thousands of families, Hoover directed the rescue. The next year, he was elected president by a landslide.
Who knew?

Of course, the thrust of the article—and presumably the book—is the lesson to be drawn from both W and Hoover:
But the Hoover story does suggest a contemporary moral. Consistency in Washington is praiseworthy only when it yields a positive result; otherwise it devolves into rigidity and dogma. The tragedy of Hoover was not that he was wrong but that he refused to see it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Schadenfreude 2009, I

The latest in a series of fuckups from RNC chairman and dead man walking, Michael Steele:
Steele In Serious Hot Water With Social Conservatives
Michael's Steele statement of support for an "individual choice" on abortion has provoked deep concern among social conservatives and spurred further speculation that his tenure at the RNC will be brief.

On Wednesday, the RNC Chair walked back a remark he made in an interview with GQ Magazine, declaring unequivocally: "I am pro-life, always have been, always will be." But even with the quick clarification, the damage was done.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: "Comments attributed to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele are very troubling and despite his clarification today the party stands to lose many of its members and a great deal of its support in the trenches of grassroots politics."

Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition: "I'm a little surprised that Michael Steele, being the leader of the Republican Party, is at odds with the pro-life platform, the platform that conservative put in place... If this is his viewpoint, he has made it be known. I'm just surprised that the leader of the party is at odds with the pro-life platform."

Evangelical leader Lou Engle: "Steele's argument that abortion is a matter of "individual choice" is extremely disappointing, especially in light of past statements in which he promised to protect and defend human life. "Steele's remarks to GQ indicate that he may be confused about "choice" and the "law." The law is supposed to protect human life, not permit the taking of it. And, it can never be a "choice" for an individual to take a life."

This is just the best fucking time to be a liberal, eh?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Porcine Prevaricator Pens A Prickly Post

Ms. Maddow reminds me of the number 1 reason I'm relieved Hillary didn't win the Dem nomination. Two words: Mark Penn.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A House Deserted?

Now for some happier news…
The coming evangelical collapse
ONEIDA, KY. - We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I'm convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.

Dude, stop whispering sweet nothings in my ear. You're making me all weak in the knees.

Welcome To The Depression

Time to start a new series, this one chronicling the nascent depression.

Here is the link and video I've already posted on Facebook:

And a cheerful post from The Moderate Voice.

Choice cut:
Longtime readers know that I have long thought a depression was inevitable for the US and the world in general because of the enormity of our debt.

Meanwhile, the country is seeing record home vacancies. “More than 14 million housing units are vacant. That number does not include an estimated 4.8 million seasonal or vacation homes, most of which are occupied part of the year.” This is completely insane.
And the financial system? It’s still as close to complete collapse as ever for the United States, and in worse shape in developing countries and Europe. I would be very surprised if we didn’t see sovereign bankruptcies (even Ireland and Spain are increasingly at risk) of rather important countries in the next year, bankruptcies that could potentially lock up the European and hence global financial system to the extent it was for a few days last fall — but this time for much longer. I have a feeling the tent cities are going to get a lot larger.
A little something from The UK's Daily Mail:
With America's economy in freefall and its housing market in crisis, California's state capital has become home to a tented city for the dispossessed.
Those who have lost their jobs and homes and have nowhere else to go are constructing makeshift shelters on the site, which covers several acres.
As many as 50 people a week are turning up and the authorities estimate that the tent city is now home to more than 1,200 people.

Foreclosure rates last year rocketed by 327 per cent, with up to 500 people a day losing their home.
And a slideshow from MSNBC.

Strap yourselves in, folks, it's going to be a bumpy-ass ride.