Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Midday Tuesday

with one comment

* Something light: The 10 Most Insane Jimmy Olsen Moments of All Time.

* Something dark: Checking in with the victims of the Stanford Prison Experiment, 40 years on.

* Lawyers for the coal industry have argued that it’s not their fault birth defects are linked to mountaintop-removal coal-mining; those people are just inbred.

* And Kevin Drum on how to understand Obama:

Just do this: whenever you think Obama has done something dumb or weakminded or inexplicable, remind yourself that he doesn’t necessarily have the same goals as you. He sincerely wants a deal that involves concessions from both sides, and once you understand that his actions will suddenly seem a lot less dumb, weakminded, and inexplicable. In fact, they’ll seem pretty obvious.

I’ve been here quite a while.

* Yglesias has an interesting post that flirts with putting a good, 11-dimensional-chess face on Obama’s debt-ceiling strategy:

We’re looking at an administration strategy to get a bipartisan deal over long-term fiscal balance. It’s a strategy whose purpose is to try to change the dynamic in which we alternate between Democrats-only balanced deficit reduction bills (like the 1993 Clinton budget) and GOP-led deficit increasing bills (like the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts). It’s the debt ceiling that’s a means to an end. And you can see that the key Democratic bargaining position here is to insist on revenue increases rather than to try to minimize spending cuts.

This is, certainly, a bold strategy. Rather than fighting the GOP’s effort to create a debt ceiling hostage crisis, Obama called their bluff. He’s willing to do huge amounts of deficit reduction, including giant spending cuts, but he’s not willing to resolve the crisis without some tax hikes. The victim has become the hostage taker. In an instrumental sense, it’s inspired, and of course has created the circumstances under which it might be possible for the administration to sell congressional Democrats on cuts they would otherwise never accept.

before rapidly turning out-and-out apocalyptic:

But on the merits, saying we can only raise the debt ceiling if we do several trillions of dollars worth of balanced austerity is only somewhat more reasonable than saying we can only raise the debt ceiling if we do several trillions of dollars worth of spending-only austerity. The world is currently grappling with a number of severe economic problems. There is, among other things, a continued “flight to quality” effect in which people want safe assets, and it’s concurrent with serious sovereign debt issues in southern europe. The fact that there’s apparently a bipartisan consensus in the United States that we ought to deliberately engineer a sovereign debt crisis right now as part of tactical bargaining over Medicare is pretty scary.

* On the bright side, even Eric Cantor can’t get his numbers to add up—so maybe it is all just for show…

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  1. […] a comment » The harsh words I had for Obama in the previous post may have to be revisited if this report from TPM is accurate: But Senate Minority Leader has just […]

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