Ballad of Anthony Weiner

Official portrait of United States Congressman...

Official portrait of United States Congressman (D-NY). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anthony Weiner, Anthony Weiner
Sexting through New York
Loved by the media
Feared by the female gender
Anthony Weiner

Hot dog!

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Politicians and sex

Other nations are much more blasé about the private lives of politicians. They’re human too and subject to the same human weaknesses as the rest of us. Let’s just forgive and forget, just so long as they stop lying about it. If they can’t tell the truth about their peccadilloes, it’s time to retire them, for they can’t be trusted to tell the truth about the important things in life. Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, the mayor of San Diego, all are media-driven distractions from what really matters.

Balanced budget

Picture of Rudy Giuliani

Picture of Rudy Giuliani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday on FOX, Rudy Giuliani stated the standard GOP policy line that families, cities and states must balance their budgets and thus the Federal government must balance its budget too. That is a false analogy. Cities and states must balance their budgets by law, and they cannot issue their own currency. Sovereign nations outside the European Union can and do issue their own currencies and thus need not balance their budgets annually. Rudy was being deliberately obtuse or he is economically illiterate. Perhaps as a former mayor of New York City, he is not familiar with budgeting at the Federal level.

It is true that families and the Federal government must balance their budgets or generate a surplus to pay down debt over the intermediate to long-term, but it is not true that both families and the Federal government must balance their budgets annually. Families and the Federal government can and should go into debt when circumstances so require. Families are prohibited from issuing their own currency (counterfeiting), but the Federal government can and should act to counter recessions by stimulating the economy. In the past, the Federal government has helped cities and states maintain employment during recessions. In the current Great Recession, the GOP in Congress have opposed stimulating the economy sufficiently and they have opposed helping cities and states to maintain local employment. In my opinion, the GOP wants a sluggish economy for political reasons.

Please see I accuse

Mark Helprin

Municipal Building, New York City

Municipal Building, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Sunlight and in Shadow is Mark Helprin‘s latest novel, set in the mid 1940s both during WW2 and shortly thereafter in New York City. It is a love story between a man and a woman and between the author and the city. Here is a short quotation that reminded me of the current Republican stance on the Chuck Hagel nomination to be secretary of defense.

“Like almost everyone from Ohio, he wanted to run for Congress , and thought that having been a common soldier would more honestly qualify him. ‘The mind of a general and the heart of an infantryman,’ he once told Harry, ‘are what is required to make the decisions politicians make in regard to both war and peace.’ Clearly, he was getting ready to run, and not only was he right, Harry thought, but were he to survive he would go far if after the war courage and probity would still count.”

Harry is the leading character in the novel and the above quotation is from the portion of the book devoted to his experiences during WW2 in Europe.

Long gas lines

Uttercast: News Shortage?

Uttercast: News Shortage? (Photo credit: doughaslam)

If you have been watching TV coverage of the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, you have probably noticed the long lines of motorists waiting to purchase gas for their vehicles. The lines are the result, not of shortages, but of the absence of electricity to power the gas pumps at the service stations. During 1973-74 and again in 1979, gas lines like the ones you are seeing in New Jersey and New York formed everywhere in the US because of actual shortages of gasoline. The shortages were relatively small, 6%+, but there was panic buying. Short tempers caused fights to break out in lines as some motorists tried to jump ahead of others who had been waiting longer.

What you are seeing today in a small part of the country could be the future of the entire country, if we or Israel bomb Iran. The mere threat of Iran closing the Strait of Hormuz could create shortages and send gas prices soaring. The US Navy may be able to keep shipping safe in the area, but insurers will raise their rates immediately on ships in the area. The threat of an Iranian attack will be sufficient to keep some ship owners out of the area. If you do not want to spend time in lines awaiting your opportunity to buy gas in rationed quantities at high prices, tell your politicians not to attack Iran.

Please see Strait of Hormuz | Strait of Hormuz part 2 | Strait of Hormuz part 3