As far as free lunches go, we of course just witnessed the biggest government handout in history, one that Romney himself endorsed. Four and a half trillion dollars in bailout money already disbursed, trillions more still at risk in guarantees and loans, sixteen trillion dollars in emergency lending from the Federal Reserve, two trillion in quantitative easing, etc. etc. All of this money went to Romney’s pals in the Wall Street banks that for years helped Romney take over companies with mountains of borrowed cash. Now, after these banks crashed, executives at those same firms used those public funds to pay themselves massive salaries, which is exactly the opposite of “helping those who need help,” if you’re keeping score.
That set of facts alone made the “free stuff” speech shockingly offensive. But the problem isn’t just that Romney’s wrong, and a hypocrite, and cynically furthering dangerous and irresponsible stereotypes in order to advance some harebrained electoral ploy involving white conservative voters. What makes it gross is the way he did it.
Romney can’t even be mean with any honesty. Even when he’s pandering to viciousness, ignorance and racism, it comes across like a scaly calculation. A guy who feels like he has to take a dump on the N.A.A.C.P. in Houston in order to connect with frustrated white yahoos everywhere else is a guy who has absolutely no social instincts at all. Someone like Jesse Helms at least had a genuine emotional connection with his crazy-mean-stupid audiences. But Mitt Romney has to think his way to the lowest common denominator, which is somehow so much worse.
“Breaking Bad” explains “The Wire” to white people
As circumstance would have it, the series finale of HBO’s “The Wire” and the season-one finale of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” will both air on Sunday. Appropriate, or perhaps somewhat backwards, as “Breaking Bad” is a show that explains “The Wire” to white people.
In “Breaking Bad,” an accomplished chemist who has fallen on hard times (dead-end job, unexpected baby on the way, oh, and diagnosed with terminal cancer) turns to cooking up crystal meth to pay his medical bills and leave something behind for his family. It asks viewers, “What would you do if you were hit with some epic bad luck in an environment where help is not forthcoming?” And the viewer, familiar with the notion of successful people hitting hard times, silently responds, “Why, peddle crystal meth, of course.”
“The Wire,” of course, took that question quite a bit further: “What would you do if you never had any luck to begin with, if society had written you off and given up on you without paying you so much as a glance?” And for five seasons, it showed viewers the most abject victims of the system’s chaos, some surviving the only way available to them: by dealing drugs.
When I last wrote about Aristotle, I mentioned how bits of data you collect can predict party affiliation. Football fans are more likely to vote Republican, for instance. What are some other odd predictors you’ve found?
A surprising predictor is car ownership—there are certain makes of car that correlate fairly highly to Republican or Democratic voting. Magazine subscriptions are a big one. Income is a pretty obvious one.
The higher income people tend to vote Republican, until they get very high, and then it curves back around the other way.
I guess Warren Buffet just isn’t as worried about paying his tax bill as someone making “only” $250,000 a year.
What’s the point at which people reach escape velocity from concerns over taxes?
In ’08 Obama carried a majority of voters with income of $200,000 and above, but lost those between $75,000 and $200,000. For net worth the point at which voters seem to trend back liberal is at least $10 million, possibly as high as $30 million. My sense is that net worth has more to do with this than income, though the two are obviously correlated. There is also some initial polling evidence that Romney is doing a lot better than McCain did among very high earners.
New road trip game, decide which car is full of Democrats or Republicans.
The Army’s pixelated camouflage uniform is getting scrapped — after costing $5 billion and making soldiers easier targets because the design stood out in nearly every environment they were worn in, according to a report in The Daily.
Someone put a doughnut on my windshield while I was in Wal Mart. I was angry at first, but then just confused. Why was someone walking around the Wal Mart parking with a doughnut in their hand? How do you get to that point?
I do these every three months. The best songs since the last three months. You have heard some of them. Not others. In those three months, I’ve experienced a radical change in lifestyle, the most severe of my life. It’s great. Get out of my dreams, get into my .rar. Enjoy your patriotic midweek celebrations.