There are 111 days remaining in the Bushian Term — although a different sort of additional Term is earnestly desired — and we are accorded the moral epigram of the Reign of Bush the Dumber:
Pfizer to focus on more profitable diseases International Herald Tribune
And we might add Frank Norris’ epilogue to his 1902 story, “A Deal in Wheat”
He had seen the two ends of a great wheat operation—a battle between Bear and Bull…. The farmer—he who raised the wheat—was ruined upon one hand; the working-man—he who consumed it—was ruined upon the other. But between the two, the great operators, who never saw the wheat they traded in, bought and sold the world’s food, gambled in the nourishment of entire nations, practised their tricks, their chicanery and oblique shifty “deals,” were reconciled in their differences, and went on through their appointed way, jovial, contented, enthroned, and unassailable.
Associated Press: “Fear swept across the financial markets on Monday, sending the Dow Jones industrials down as much as 705 points, after the government’s financial bailout package failed in the House….”
I’ve been looking for the story that follows since I first read it in 1972. For obvious reasons, I thought it was written by Upton Sinclair, but thanks to the magic of those internets tubes, I found it in public domain, by Frank Norris. (You can download the entire collection from Project Gutenberg HERE.)
So, in honor of today’s “Black Monday” on Wall Street, September 29, 2008,* exactly one month shy of the 79th Anniversary of the Great Crash of Black Tuesday of October 29, 1929, I’m reprinting it here for your enjoyment. (I’ll post part iii. of “Into The West” later this evening.)
[* In case you haven't been paying attention:
House Rejects Bailout Package, 228-205; Stocks Plunge
The New York Times (42 minutes ago)
By CARL HULSE and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
Published: September 29, 2008 Continue reading
I haven’t commented on the Rightie Bloggers’ snarking after the Debate, mostly because it was too pathetic and desperate to warrant mention. Grasping at straws, they seemed to fail to notice that McCranky, Patriotic War Hero, wasn’t wearing a flag lapel pin, but IOKIYAR* on that.
[* IOKIYAR = It's OK If You're A Republican]
But they decided to attack Obama’s ‘disrespect’ of the soldier’s bracelet he was wearing. Continue reading
[except as noted, all photos ©2008 Hart and Jayne Williams]
[This is part ii. Part i is HERE. I'm breaking this down into 1,500 word bite-sized chunks.]
There is a fundamental contradiction in our view of the West. On the one hand, we see it, almost exclusively, as an extraction pit for raw materials: cattle, coal, timber, ores and metals, pumice and gypsum for blue jeans and drywall. We sent our trappers into the West to kill all the fur-bearing animals for hats and coats – and pretty well succeeded. We found the buffalo an annoyance that stopped our railroads and fed our aboriginal inhabitants, so we slaughtered them nearly to extinction. We found silver in the Comstock Lode, so we sucked the mountain dry and left Virginia City as a ghost town, until the second use of the West came into view: tourism.
mineral extraction on the Great Salt Lake
Increasingly, one finds mines — like the aforementioned Reno gouging — without signs, or with blanked signs. They used to trumpet their corporate identity at the mines. Now, they don’t want you to know who’s doing it. There’s something spooky about driving a ten-mile strip mine by the highway and finally locating a blank sign at the entrance. Continue reading
[note: all photos are © 2008 Hart and Jayne Williams.]
The West in all its cluttered, rapine glory.
The West and I are so intertwined that I cannot speak of one without the other. I have lived my entire life in the West, save for two summers in Sudbury, Massachusetts and New Milford, Connecticut. Having just returned from trucking goods along the legendary Santa Fe to Oregon Trail (the fictional, ahistorical alternative route to the fictional, ahistorical Laramie, Wyoming to Santa Fe, New Mexico ‘trail’ that Jimmy Stewart took in 1955′s “The Man From Laramie”), it is apparent that the West is changing in a new and ugly direction, or, perhaps, the punchline to a long American expansion based on false premises is about to snap out with a giant exclamation point. Continue reading
I was going to note that in Rovian politics, it doesn’t matter who won the debate. What matters is who wins the DEBATE about who won the debate. But John McCain made the point for me earlier in the day when the Wall Street Journal (as caught by Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post) ran his prepared ad prematurely:
Chris Cillizza / Washington Post:
McCain Wins Debate — Although the fate of tonight’s presidential debate in Mississippi remains very much up in the air, John McCain has apparently already won it — if you believe an Internet ad an astute reader spotted next to this piece in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal this morning…
Tomorrow’s news today. From the Wall Street Journal (24 minutes ago):
SEPTEMBER 26, 2008
WaMu Fails, Is Sold Off to J.P. Morgan
Biggest Banking Collapse in U.S. History; Government Arranges a Deal to Safeguard Huge Thrift’s Deposits, Branches
By ROBIN SIDEL, DAVID ENRICH and DAN FITZPATRICK
In what is by far the largest bank failure in U.S. history, federal regulators seized Washington Mutual Inc. and struck a deal to sell the bulk of its operations to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Continue reading
Now, wait just a goddam minute here: This is EXACTLY the same stunt that McCain pulled for the Republican Convention, attempting to turn it into a telethon for Hurricane Gustav, lest we be reminded that Bush and McCain were, literally, eating cake when Katrina hit. (Gustav outfox’ed ‘em, though.) They “suspended” the first day of the Con, remember?
Having their cake and eating it too
Even Marie Antoinette, post-amputation, would have noticed that.
[Part the Second]
What we gots here, kids, is yer classic Jeffersonian/Hamiltonian split. They hated each other’s guts and so do we.
ii. Republican mendacity is based on rapacity
Michael Goldfarb called his brownshirts on the New York Times again today. Continue reading
[Part the First]
Belief is a funny thing. If you believe ANYthing strongly enough, the mind can come up with infinite justifications, can rationalize ANYthing, will DO anything. But belief without any actual evidence to back it up has another, more precise term: psychosis.
And that’s why George Will’s column today comes as such a surprise. While unwilling to actually endorse Obama, it clearly leaves that as the default choice: Continue reading
Happy Equinox. Exact this morning at 8:44 PDT.
I am back from 3,000 miles in the American West, and, having prepared my blogs a week in advance, the timeliness of the instantaneous news cycle has been absent — for a time and a place wherein Larissa Alexandrova can produce a superior, provocative, and astonishing essay, “Welcome to the final stages of the coup…” and can draw comment from all quarters, and then have said essay vanish like a cloudlet burning off with the morning fog at the seashore.
Where profundity shares the same fate as mindless ephemera. Continue reading