Friday, March 13, 2009

About Last Night

It was deeply satisfying to see Jon Stewart putting it to Jim Cramer on last night’s Daily Show. Cramer deserved no quarter and Stewart gave him none. And it’ll be interesting to see whether the handshake at the show’s close does result in CNBC’s trashing the “In Cramer We Trust” promos. But let's face it, at the end of the day, asking CNBC to step up its investigative reporting of the finance sector is a bit like asking the cheerleading squad to improve oversight of your athletic department. As the Times reported today and on March 9th despite CNBC’s culpability in the financial crackup, they win regardless.

For there’s virtually no learning curve as far as this debacle is concerned. In the eyes of the system’s staunch defenders, the boom and bust cycle is a necessary feature of the progressive force of capitalism. As Alan Greenspan puts it in a recent interview when asked what benefits were left behind by the bursting of the housing bubble:
Well, that should be clear - entire neighborhoods have been revitalized, home building and renovation technology has been advanced, and millions of Americans who could never afford a home before are now homeowners because of innovations in mortgage finance and debt securitization.
Or the nature of capitalism is creative destruction, and every cycle leaves more winners than losers, more prosperity than misery, yadda, yadda, yadda.

So if you’re expecting a retreat from Cramer and the forces he represents and serves don’t hold your breath.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A hero ain't nothin' but a sandwich...

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, at 90, is no fool.
You know, just because he is black, everyone thought he was a revolutionary. He's no revolutionary. Obama is a centrist. And as far as any on the left who thought he was a revolutionary, I think the air is going out of his revolutionary balloon daily.
One sad chunk of fallout from the last eight years is that Obama's centrist moves look radical and will be spun as downright subversive by the right. A look at the plus column shows Barack is piling up a lot of reversals of odious Bush policies, and I'm all for that. But moving the government closer to the center on a scale that doesn't take into account the true middleground when voters resoundingly repudiated the right and center right is a waste of time and political capital. You can't take credit for stopping the rain when all you did was wait out the storm.

ht to alr