Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Rugby of Stimulus

It's been another wild and woolly week for President Obama, the stimulus bill, and for me--my clothes dryer gave up the ghost, so sheets, towels, and underpants are unfurled throughout the house trying their darndest to get dry.

Funerals are in order.

At least, according to author Chris Hedges, whose report "It's Not Going to Be OK" (on, Feb. 2) was circulating around the internet this week. Hedges declared in no uncertain terms that "The future is bleak...Our way of life is over...Our children will never have the standard of living we had." Nor can these bleak prospects be undone, he suggests, with a trillion or two trillion dollars in bailout money, because the empire is dying and our economy has collapsed. And while Hedges was busy wondering how we will cope with our decline, one late-night comedian facetiously suggested we sew all those billions of stimulus dollars together--and make a blanket big enough to cover Jupiter. (Which he pronounced jhu-pee-terre.)

In the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan claimed she could find no one, neither Republican nor Democrat, who believed the stimulus bill passed by the House will solve anything or make anything better, while Paul Krugman in the New York Times berated Washington for failing to see what's really at stake: that we are falling into an economic abyss from which it will be very hard to get out again. The need for strong government action, he intones, might--at least, maybe, perhaps--improve our odds.

In the midst of all this accumulated confusion and fear, Republicans have decided there is more political profit in taking their cue from the Taliban and becoming insurgents. They have closed ranks and adopted Rush Limbaugh's new mantra about Obama: "I hope he fails." John McCain has reverted to punching the air with his fists again, promoting tax cuts (a sight I'd naively thought we'd seen the last of after the election.) "This bill," said Lindsay Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina and McCain's closest sidekick, "is stinking up the place." House Minority Leader John Boehner refers to the bill now as "generational theft."

"And by the way," wrote one anonymous blogger on the Huffington Post this week, "the word is that one Republican leader said last week (in a closed door meeting) that 'our goal is block ANY kind of recovery until we are in another Great Depression...that's how we win in the next cycle and sweep back into power over the next four years." Nice going, boys! Have we just entered oblivion's waiting room?

Anyway, the good news is, one of my favorite actors, whose name I can't remember, just won an award (which one I forget--forgive my senior moments please) for his leading role in my favorite movie, "The Visitor," a film (in my humble opinion) far more likeable than "Slumdog Millionaire." And now, I'm off to fold the laundry so Virgil can have a place to sit down..

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