I’ve been eagerly awaiting The Daily Show’s take on the platinum coin, but when it finally came Thursday night, the result was a crushing disappointment. No movie-caper scenarios, no catchphrase punch lines, just a you-so-crazy reaction. What’s more, the whole premise of Jon Stewart’s reaction was completely uninformed. He seems to think the plan is designed not to prevent massive market dislocations caused by Republicans refusing to lift the debt ceiling, but to cover the budget deficit. Here’s his setup:
America’s got a bit of a cash-flow problem these days. We have a $16 trillion debt. Our credit rating actually got downgraded for the first time last year. So I think you can all agree it’s time to get serious and figure out a way to restore the world’s respect for the soundness of our currency …
No, that’s not it. None of those points is relevant. It’s not about the deficit at all. The credit downgrade was a pure political statement by S&P, one that had no impact at all on the markets. Respect for our currency remains extremely high, as evidenced by massive demand for it even at rock-bottom interest rates. We have no cash-flow problem at all.
It’s hard to say exactly what Jon Stewart and his writers think about economic policy, but there is some odd vein of Hooverism that pops up from time to time. Take his 2009 interview with White House budget director Peter Orszag:
This happened in April of 2009 as the world economy was in a free fall. The whole comedic premise of the entire interview was “Oh my God, the deficit is so big; why don’t you solve that?” Stewart compared the U.S. government to a family and asked what would happen if it called up its credit card company and said it was projecting a deficit of uncertain size. (Orszag correctly replied that families run deficits with credit card companies all the time.) He prodded with questions like, “When you say ‘we’re cutting that down’ — when?”
Orszag tried to gently explain that it wasn’t important to cut the deficit right away, but Stewart did not seem to take that premise at all. (He did push back a bit on Über-deficit-hawk Alan Simpson in a more recent interview.)
Now, obviously it’s not an economics show, but the premise of a joke is supposed to be reality, and the punch line is the departure from reality. The joke here proceeds as if we all know that Herbert Hoover’s views on fiscal policy are obviously correct.
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Stacey Abrams ends bid to become Georgia’s governor
“I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election, but to watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling,”
Week one of the El Chapo trial included testimony on six-figure bribes and the murder of a Roman Catholic Cardinal
Jesús Zambada, whose brother was once considered one of the cartel’s leaders, said during his second day on the witness stand in Brooklyn that Guzmán once directed him to give $100,000, along with a hug, to a general in the state of Guerrero.
Zambada – a 57-year-old trained accountant who was arrested in 2008 and is still in US custody – was the first of several cooperators expected to give jurors an inside look at a cartel with a legendary lust for drugs, cash and violence.
Trump Mulls Letting Turkey Kill U.S. Resident to Help Saudis Get Away With Killing U.S. Resident
By Eric Levitz
Trump Is Starting to Panic
By Frank Rich
Divided We Stand
By Sasha Issenberg
What Happens If Americans Stop Trusting the System?
By Andrew Sullivan
UN Says Climate Genocide Is Coming. It’s Actually Worse Than That.
By David Wallace-Wells
Are we reaching the end of the NRA era?
Two groups that are focused on gun control, Giffords and Everytown for Gun Safety, spent at least $37 million at the state and federal level in the midterms, compared with at least $20 million by the N.R.A. The figures are incomplete, because some of the spending done by such groups is not required to be disclosed, but all sides agreed that the N.R.A. was outspent, stemming a trend of financial dominance for the N.R.A. going back years.
Trump wants a coal lobbyist to continue to run the EPA
A veteran on Capitol Hill, Andrew Wheeler worked from 1995 to 2009 as a staffer for Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, a fervent denier of man-made climate change, and then for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Wheeler later worked as a lobbyist, including for coal giant Murray Energy Corp., which pushed hard at the outset of the Trump administration for coal-friendly policies from the EPA and other agencies.
The grandson of a coal miner, Wheeler told staffers in his first days as the agency’s acting head this summer that he was proud of his roots in coal country. In the acting role, Wheeler has a reputation as a more open and cordial boss for employees than Scott Pruitt was, and a more methodical steward of Mr. Trump’s deregulatory mission.
The Cal/Stanford game is being postponed for the first time since the JFK assassination
Saturday’s Big Game has been postponed because of sustained unhealthy air quality in the wake of the wildfires in Butte County — a landmark moment in the 100-plus-year history of the rivalry.
Mourners hold an absentee funeral for Khashoggi in Turkey
Probably should have made some time for that
A poignant cautionary tale about the internet and the perils of popularity
In my office, I have a coffee mug from Stanich’s in Portland, Oregon. Under the restaurant name, it says “Great hamburgers since 1949.” The mug was given to me by Steve Stanich on the day I told him that, after eating 330 burgers during a 30-city search, I was naming Stanich’s cheeseburger the best burger in America. That same day, we filmed a short video to announce my pick. On camera, Stanich cried as he talked about how proud his parents would be. After the shoot, he handed me the mug, visibly moved. “My parents are thanking you from the grave,” he said, shaking my hand vigorously. When I left, I felt light and happy. I’d done a good thing.
Five months later, in a story in The Oregonian, restaurant critic Michael Russell detailed how Stanich’s had been forced to shut down. In the article, Steve Stanich called my burger award a curse, “the worst thing that’s ever happened to us.” He told a story about the country music singer Tim McGraw showing up one day, and not being able to serve him because there was a five hour wait for a burger. On January 2, 2018, Stanich shut down the restaurant for what he called a “two week deep cleaning.” Ten months later, Stanich’s is still closed. Now when I look at the Stanich’s mug in my office, I no longer feel light and happy. I feel like I’ve done a bad thing.
Does the Democratic campaign to oust Nancy Pelosi make any sense?
a group of about 20 democrats is threatening to withhold support for nancy pelosi in her bid for house speaker, a position she held last time the party was in power. some are freshman who campaigned with the explicit promise that they wouldn’t support heri; others are congressional veterans who appear to want more centrist leadership. is there any good reason to oust pelosi, who is widely regarded as one of the most effective speakers of the modern era?
I may have tipped my hand on my own views with the wording of that question…
She does have high negatives based on years of attacks, and those can be used against Democrats in House elections
I’d say those attacks work almost entirely because pelosi is female (and secondarily from San Francisco). So there would be some benefit to replacing her with a fresh, non-attacked face, especially a white male one (for Democrats in red districts).
But they’ll just attack the new person regardless, and the next speaker’s negatives will approach Pelosi levels pretty quickly, I expect.
the anti-Pelosi argument calls for swapping out your caucus leader every few years just to force the opponent to start from scratch personally demonizing a new name. I don’t think it’s a very good strategy over all.
hence my overall take: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/03/nancy-pelosi-is-good-at-her-job-and-she-should-keep-it.html?gtm=bottom>m=bottom
I do think a young, fresh face – that doesn’t hail from a coastal, liberal city – would have political benefits for the party, in theory.
I agree there is some benefit to the new name/face
I’m not sure that I see a more compelling replacement (who would have the votes necessary to succeed her)
Marcia Fudge, who has been named as a possible challenger, will not be more popular
She is also a woman and is African-American, making her even easier to pair with Democrats in red districts.
the Pelosi attacks are all about culture and identity
I do think there’s a case for breaking with convention/seniority and making someone like Beto speaker
yeah, that’d be perfect. But he seems less than interested
but, realistically, i think Pelosi is an outstanding legislative tactician.
years of watching Republicans screw up votes has only made her look better
how much will that matter in a context of divided government?
(which I’d say is the context we’re most likely to be in through 2022)
good point – not much. This will matter a lot if Democrats win the presidency, though
still gotta get that senate tho
seems to me a lot of the opposing politicians, when asked about why they’re opposing pelosi, speak in vague terms about “needing a change,” and not much else
right, ben, because the reasons I gave above are, I think, the *real* reasons some of them oppose her, and they’re too pathetic to be articulated in public
liberal twitter likes to ask why schumer was resoundingly re-elected to his leadership post with none of this drama
despite drawing the scorn of progressives quite a bit over the last year
“my constituents are easily frightened of a powerful woman” is not an argument you can make in public
so do you think it’s mostly about sexism, the contrast between how these two leaders are currently being treated by some colleagues?
she is not a very good public speaker. Halting and cliche-bound. But I doubt her image has much to do with that, or anything. I do think it’s about sex (and geography, a bit.)
To me, one of the acid tests of leadership occured in 2010 after the Scott Brown election freaked the party out about health care
Lots and lots of Democrats lost their heads and wanted to give up. Two who didn’t were Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi
and this spanned the ideological breadth of the party, from its centrists to its most progressive members
it was a test of “can you calmly assess reality?”
As for the distinction between Pelosi and Schumer – I feel like Senators might be generally less interested in leadership fights than House members?
yeah, that could be
You have 2 factions opposed to pelosi
the right faction, which is about the attack ads. And that’s a function of gender. Schumer is not as scary in attack ads because he’s a white guy
then there’s the left faction, and the Senate doesn’t have the same kind of progressive faction because it has larger voting units that don’t produce left-wing factional politicians very easily (Bernie being maybe the closest thing.)
it’s odd, though, because we just had an election where democrats did extremely well in the House
despite all the ads!
True, though many of those Dems felt compelled to oppose Pelosi
so it did sting
A final point on that issue, though–
In general I am very pragmatic, and I think if Pelosi’s image is causing real harm to the liberal agenda you should probably chuck her. But there are some real moral problems with giving in to sexism.
That’s worthy of consideration, I think.
Yes a white male speaker would be less of a political liability in swing districts, but that should at minimum make us a little queasy.
the case for scrapping schumer does seem much stronger
given his failure to demonstrate any special talents for the duties of his post
I miss harry reid
A photo from Sacramento illustrates how bad air quality is in Northern California, thanks to wildfires
All the president’s spin
Jim Antle on a case he sees as a test for gun rights activists
Yet the cold resignation in the witness’s account originates in the experiences of many African Americans. There is a burgeoning number of cases in which the police conduct that results in a dead black man is at least highly questionable.
So too is the relative silence of gun rights groups when these situations entail law-abiding black gun owners’ interactions with law enforcement. The most prominent example is Philando Castile, a valid gun permit holder who was slain despite informing police officers he was armed. The National Rifle Association faced questions about its handling of the incident—not least from its own members.
Wildfires have turned Northern California’s air into the worst in the world
The Bay Area’s already fetid, wildfire-choked air continued to register “very unhealthy” levels of particulate matter throughout the region Friday morning, following public health warnings and mass closures of schools, universities, businesses — even San Francisco’s fabled cable cars were pulled off the hills.
RBG is back
One way to revive struggling small towns
All across America, university towns are thriving. Their skilled workforces and research activities draw in business investment, while their medical facilities and high quality of life attract residents from smaller rural towns.
As a result, there are a lot of ideas for how public policy can help turn small and decaying rural towns into slightly bigger and more prosperous college towns. One way is simply to start new universities and put them there, and in fact I once suggested that the federal government create a system of elite universities, much like the one that exists in India.
There is a better way: Build up the research capabilities of the country’s existing smaller and less well-known colleges.
A mighty strange talking point, considering Dems may end up winning close to 40 seats
The drinking doesn’t really explain this…
A man shouting “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump” during a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” in Baltimore smelled of alcohol and told police he was motivated by his hatred of President Donald Trump.
Anthony M. Derlunas, 58, told an officer he “had been drinking heavily throughout the night” before the outburst at the Hippodrome Theatre on Wednesday night, according to a police report.
But before details of the police report became public in the early evening, the incident rattled many already anxious about a recent spike in anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Maryland and nationwide.
Donald Trump, famous respecter of decorum
War of words escalates in Pelosi speakership battle
Parsing a possible legal hail mary from Stacey Abrams
since election day, georgia republican brian kemp – a divisive figure in large part because of his history of voter suppression in the state – has maintained his lead of tens of thousands of votes over stacy abrams, and is also just above the 50 percent threshold that would avoid a runoff between the two candidates. now, abrams is considering a novel legal strategy to try to force that runoff. can you explain what’s going on?
OK. First off, the Secretary of State–the position Kemp just resigned as part of his victory claim–is likely to certify Kemp’s election this afternoon, which would normally end the whole process.
There is a state law (never utilized) that allows a suit within five days of certification alleging “misconduct, fraud or irregularities … sufficient to change or place in doubt the results.”
That’s what Abrams is thinking about doing.
But that would mean she’d have to make a convincing case that more than 18,000 voters who might have voted for her were prevented from doing so by various voter suppression methods. That’s the number of votes Kemp has above the majority needed to avoid a runoff.
we know that kemp has been a champion of various methods favored by republicans around the country that seem intentionally designed to make it harder for minorities to vote. but presumably, abrams would need to go beyond merely stating that fact and get into the weeds of individual cases?
That’s the big question: would a judge require individual showings, or is a pervasive pattern enough? The former would create a standard that’s pretty hard to meet, particularly if the courts stick to that five-day deadline.
this strikes me as a serious longshot – do you agree?
Yes, and it’s not entirely clear Abrams will pursue it. Her campaign is also looking at federal remedies based on constitutional arguments–another long-shot.
do you think this could be more about sending a message about the salience of voting rights going forward than it is about actually winning the election?
Yes. Though many are warning Abrams that going down this road could damage her political future in Georgia. She’s already being discussed as a 2020 Senate candidate.
yeah. I think that, unfortunately, even if her claims are valid, the majority of people are probably not sympathetic to endless challenges after a losing campaign.
More on the Acosta ruling
Acosta/CNN also argued a First Amendment violation of viewpoint or content discrimination. Judge did not end up having to consider this.