One of her clients recently confessed that his net worth had decreased to $8 million from more than $20 million, and he thinks that his wife will leave him. He has hidden their fall in fortune by taking on debt to pay for her extravagant clothes and vacations.This article is hilarious. All it needs is a cousine Bette and a good infidelity or two. If your net worth drops from $20 million to $8 million in a year based solely on the movement of the market, then brother, you ain't never had no twenty mil to begin with. Well, the funny money economy rolls on, but downhill. I'm reminded of all those down-on-their-heels British aristocrats puttering about their decrepit estates, hoping for good marriages for their daughters. This is going to make for some excellent literature if some enterprising young author gets her hands on it.
“I literally had to sit there and tell him that he had to tell his wife that she had to stop spending,” she said. “He was actually scared she would leave him because their financial situation changed so drastically.”
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
We don’t understand the Iranians because the Iranians don’t understand themselves. The regime isn’t sure whether it is an ideological movement championing global jihad or whether it is merely regional power seeking Middle East hegemony. Until the Iranians resolve this internal ambiguity, you can talk to them all you want, but they won’t be able to make a strategic shift or follow a more amenable path.Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do? The comfortable pronouncement that some distant They doesn't know what it wants by some cossetted suburban white dude is faintly astonishing. Remember, this is a guy who couldn't find a Red Lobster in South-Central Pennsylvania while writing an ethnography on other English-speaking white people, which should inform you as to his capacity to psychoanalyze the collective consciousness of the heirs to one of the world's oldest civilizations. Iran is not especially hard to understand, in fact. Decades of miserable foreign intervention culminating in the corrupt, repressive, American-stooge rule of the Shah drove popular sentiment toward a political Islam that represented the main pole of resistance and a means of organizing a revolution. They had a revolution. They created an Islamic Republic that placed the majority of daily governance in the hands of an elected government but final veto power in the hands of a clerical authority. The core of the Iranian armed forces remained and remains loyal to the religious authorities, and so they retain their ultimate power. The Iranian people are just fucking people. They want jobs and houses and food and families and the freedom to live under or overthrow their government where and when they fucking please, without a gang of monolingual Washingtonians yabbering at them about a Lockean social compact that, oh, by the way, has never actually obtained in the West anyway. The Iranian government seeks political advantage in the Middle East not because it dreams of the glory days of Xerxes but in order to maintain its national integrity and not, ya know, get conquered by America. I understand that Brooks is a "conservative," whatever on earth that means or signifies, and therefore has a certain doxological committment to preening dumbassery, but the inability to look at the Middle East and think, "Hey, maybe our invasion, ransacking, and occupation of a nation right in the middle of the goddamn place is having a deranging influence on local politics," is in an orbit far beyond Stupid. You cannot shit yourself in church on a Sunday and then call your pewmates weirdos for looking at you funny.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I am beginning to think I might support John McCain's campaign for president. I look at him, and I hear the opening strains of Lebowski: "Sometimes there's a man . . . sometimes there's a man . . . well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there." And isn't that McCain? Cranky, old, forgetful, mean, decrepit, in possession of a few jokes we still titter at out of obligation. He seems to me to capture the Zeitgeist of post-Bush America: exhausted, grumpy, and eager to assign blame. His voice is persistently nasal, and everything he says sounds like a whine. Actually, most of the time, if he's talking, then he is whining, so perhaps that point is moot. His reverence for the military knows no bounds, and he intends to use this glorious tool as often as possible, and yet his instrumental vision of how precisely this is going to work, what precisely he's going to do with it, is hazy. He appears to despise his wife but enjoy her money, and she appears to tolerate his mooching in order to remain close to the corridors of power. This largely Roman arrangement appeals to my sense of history and my fondness for classical civilization. Ask him to talk about anything other than ill-definited martial glory and he freezes up like a fifteen-year-old asked to give an oral report. Where George Bush would simply string together a series of non sequiturs like a glue-sniffer debating himself, McCain gathers his brow, and his eyes dart wildly. He appears genuinely to want to answer, but standing at the head of the class seizes something in his throat, and anyway, he didn't do the reading. The presently floating notion that he will take periodic questions from Congress is charming in its insincerity. "Mr. President, last quarter's numbers show core inflation below projections, but with food and fuel prices steadily rising, the economy is facing inflationary pressures. How have your economic policies addressed these issues, and can you prod the Fed to act more aggressively on the monetary side?" "Fuck you. At least I don't make myself up like a trollop, you cunt." It is also almost inconceivable that McCain would run for a second term, as he will by then have achieved an age unseen since the antediluvian era. Which means that in four years, we can have another delightfully ridiculous primary season in which Hillary Clinton jockeys with Jeb Bush and Bobby Jindal for the Republican nomination.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I'm glad to see this coming out, and from the horse's ass's mouth no less. But as with Al Gore, I wonder why he couldn't have had this little bout of integrity while he was STANDING UP IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE COUNTRY AND COULD HAVE DONE SOME GOOD WITH IT, instead of saving it for five years later, after he'd personally helped to facilitate the killing of hundreds of thousands of human beings. But I suppose that wouldn't have been professional.Well, to be fair to Scooter Crunch, he claims that he was a mere dupe and conduit for all this administration subterfuge, i.e. just as dumb as any other Joe American, a claim that may be self-serving, may be true, and is probably both. When McClellan finally gets canned, Bush weeps. Et t'aime d'autant plus, belle, que tu me fuis . . . Not to engage in any egregious phenotypology, but Scooter just looks gullible. Ari was a hard-ass; Scooter a buffoon; to replace Scooter, they combed the rolls of third-tier state university sorority alumni rolls until they found Dana Perino, who by daily managing to form phonemes into words exceeds anyone's expectations of her. A tell-all memoir by a press secretary full of revelations that it was not, in fact, his job to accurately and concisely communicate the policies of the Administration of the United States of America to the League of Women's Voters and the Rotary Club and the Press Corps and the Boyscouts and Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and You, the Voter is neither a tell-all nor particularly revelatory. A PR hack spinning tall tales? Really? I'm sure that in some circles this will all be taken as further "proof" of Bushisti mendacity, as if anything else needs to accumulate on that point. Scooter was a goober; one a goober, always a goober. He will make an excellent associate district manager for some backwater chemical and cleaning supply company, logging the miles, living the dream. Requiescat in pace. Go with God. Fuck off.
It really makes you appreciate the countless unheralded acts of cowardice that are required to make crimes like this possible.
-Caruso on La Scotty
We need to make a structural shift in our energy economy. Ultimately, we need to move our entire fleet to plug-in electric cars. The only way to get from here to there is to start now with a price signal that will force the change.Yeah, I know I can't wait until John Galt's static-electrical motor is revealed to the world, but it'll still be too late to save the railroad. Making the structural shift [sic, motherfucker] to cars that recharge overnight via USB connections to our laptops is, bee tee dubbleyou, "the truth, the real truth, to the American people about what would be the best — I mean really the best — energy policy for the long-term economic health and security of our country." If I hated to repeat myself, I'd hate to repeat myself when I say that this notion, that "change" will yield up precisely the same situation and circumstances we have now, only without any of the negative consequences, is the purest and dumbest of self-flattery. Atlanta does not become fit for human habitation just because its rush hour whirs instead of roars.
Imagine for a minute, just a minute, that someone running for president was able to actually tell the truth, the real truth, to the American people about what would be the best — I mean really the best — energy policy for the long-term economic health and security of our country. I realize this is a fantasy, but play along with me for a minute. What would this mythical, totally imaginary, truth-telling candidate say?Probably something like, "My fellow Americans, you'd better break out the hoes and start tilling those half-acre lots."
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
As it is now, the two probable presidential nominees have outlined a foreign policy that sort of goes like this: Obama will talk to anyone while John McCain will talk to no one. I would guess that both would love to amend their positions but are mortally afraid of appearing reasonable.You know what I think would make a really great ticket? Cthulhu and Ghandi: Cthulhu will devour anyone while Ghandi will devour no one. I mean, let's set aside for a moment that neither McCain nor Obama actually represent anything other than delusion post-superpower imperial consensus on American "leadership" in the world. Let's assume that in fact Obama will do as Cohen says and so too McCain. Does this therefore work out to some sort of arithematic balance whereby this hybridized administration talks to . . . half the world? Would they draw lots? Whence commeth the conviction that the median of any sequence represents Truth, that between any two notions there yet lies a fulcrum of Absolute. If I say that the ocean is full of water and you say that it is full of liquid helium, that does not make it full of liquid nitrogen, it just makes you a dumbass who's familiar with the periodic chart. Worse yet in the case of politics, where both held and articulated positions are uniformly wrong. Between puke and bullshit is bile. Ick.
-Richard Fucking Cohen
Well, I am just back from my college reunion--I'm not a nostalgist, but you can still buy a beer for seventy-five cents--which happened to coincide with the 175th anniversary of the founding of the college. It has in its time transitioned from an austere, abolitionist, Prohibitory Methodism to lefty agitation to its current incarnation as a sort of slums of the Ivy League, the latter having had its genesis when I was a student there lo these not-so-many years ago. Already in my freshman year the joke was that we were a repository for kids too fucked-up to get into Brown. (Apocryphally, a kid at Bennington once told me that they had the same joke about us. I believe it.) The transformation continued apace after I left, and I am informed that the school's former motto, which was actually several variations on the theme "One Person Can Change the World," and which in retrospect had the advantage of being merely ridiculous, has now been changed to the more market-tested "Fearless," which belongs in an athletic shoe commercial. As recently as six or so years ago, a gaggle of soi-disant Socialist student agitators were able to heckle former Clintonista, former Yalie punching bag Larry Summers out of Finney Chappel when he came for a convocation address, and were subsequently denounced (I'm sure to their delight) for a lack of "civility" and for violating the big dummy's right to speak, the sort of on-its-head First Amendment argument made by folks who imagine themselves as guardians of the "discourse" against the perversions of the left and the excesses of the right.
Now the predominant political ideology is Obamamania, and the commencement speaker was Fareed Zakaria, for chrissake. Dommage. Like Professor Smith, I find myself at a loss when it comes to this fervor. I'm not one to privilege substance over style; it is impossible to be substantive without style, and impossible to be stylish without substance; but Obama seems to me, as Robert Lowell said of Il Duce, to be "one of us / only, pure prose." I understand the attraction to Boomers craving an MLK-JFK-RFK moment once more before they pass into sensence and death, but I entered this campaign season with a firm conviction that whatever else could be said about my lazy-ass (and I mean that as a compliment) generation, it was surely immune to flowered oratory, given the industrialization of irony, video games, hook ups, ritalin, Monica Lewinsky, the Real World, Kurt Cobain's suicide, Columbine, etc., but it turns out that all this organic food and a catastrophic decline in the amount of Bovine Growth Hormone contained in our daily victuals has engendered a resurgence of the very vapid sincerity that characterized so much of the vaunted sixties generation. Obamites are, after all, nothing if not catastrophically sincere. "Think one person can change the world?" No? Yes.
It was probably inevitable that this would happen. It has, finally, been decades since Kennedy got popped, and everyone hungers for more Ask-Not-ery, one of the periodic reminders that the subjects are, well, subject. Obama suggests Higher Purpose, as did that handsome New England poon-hound, and if he blunders into near-nuclear war or invades an island nation or embroils us ever-more-deeply in the greater Middle East, well, he sherr do talk purty bout puttin men on the moon. But everyone knows that the moon landing was filmed on a soundstage in Burbank. You can see a man hang himself from a tree if you look at the background carefully, and the key is to start playing "Speak to Me" when the MGM lion roars exactly, or it won't match up. Thing is: if Obama supporters did find themselves in Oz with the option of a heel-clicking return home, they'd elect to keep the slippers--to hell with Black-and-White Kansas.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Hillary Clinton is not remaining in the Democratic nomination race because she thinks that some Sirhan is going to gun down Obama just in time. She's remaining in the race because it's hilarious. That is all.
“The rest of the world,” [Mitchel Lasser, a law professor at Cornell] added, “is stunned and amazed at what we do, and vaguely aghast. They think the idea that judges with absolutely no judge-specific educational training are running political campaigns is both insane and characteristically American.”One would think that either insane or characteristically American would suffice, but the Times has always enjoyed emphatic redundancy. The quaint idea that elections make American judges accountable to this popular will thing I keep hearing about is pretty funny, seeing as in America the public and its will seem uniquely susceptible to the notion that the greatest crime in politics is letting black dudes out of jail. The "Look! Negroes!" card has been played for so long and with such success that one wonders why our political class even bothers constructing platforms for our sham democracy. We could change the name of the United States of America to I'm Not a Racist, But and become the first nation on earth whose name accurately reflects its character.