Friday, December 30, 2011

Takimag on 2011
I say ‘two thousand and eleven’. ‘Twenty eleven’ just doesn’t click.
  • Derb:
    April. Congress passed a budget deal to avert a government showdown. The deal was advertised as including cuts to federal spending. There was some trimming of programs in health, labor, education, and contributions to the UN and various international organizations for a total savings of $38.5 billion – only .002% of the federal deficit.

    November. The “Supercommittee” of six Republican and six Democrat congressfolk that was set up to resolve the nation’s debt problem failed to agree on anything and went home. The Democrats had wanted more taxes and benefit hikes; the Republicans wanted tax reform and benefit cuts. The last few sentient Americans who believed that anyone in Washington gives a fig about the national debt – or at least, a fig more than they give about political positioning – were disabused of that notion.
    Which probably wasn’t even really a spending cut but a slightly lower rise in spending. Only Ron Paul’s serious about cutting spending.
    October. The Occupy Wall Street movement, in situ at Zuccotti Park in Downtown Manhattan, forced city authorities to back down from a plan to clean up the camp. A mix of union agitators, professional anarchists, and middle-class kids disgruntled that their degrees in Art History hadn’t opened the doors of employment squatted in downtown Manhattan stating their intent to make the city spend more on public services by shutting down the financial sector, whose taxes fund most public services.
    There was that (hippies redux: rich kids partying and showing off, who can literally afford to drop out for a while because they can always drop back in), but also veterans and other reminders of the 1930s Depression.
    December. The Justice Department reached a settlement with Bank of America, under the terms of which BofA would pay $335 million to 200,000 plaintiffs for having done what the last three administrations had demanded they do under threat of Justice Department lawsuits: trash credit standards so minorities could be sold loans they couldn’t afford to service. Hey, somebody had to take the blame for the housing crash, and you don’t expect politicians to blame themselves, do you? Ha ha ha ha ha!
  • Charles Coulombe:
    Osama bin Laden, the 21st century’s very own Emmanuel Goldstein, was at last packed off to paradise or wherever.

    Tellingly, Occupy San Fernando Valley was canceled after more reporters showed up than protesters; the Valley is a place people usually try to flee. Poignantly, Occupy LA’s leaders were outraged by the homeless moving in to gorge on the free food, shelter, recreational drugs, and women.
    Sailer wrote that this intrusion of reality ended the ’67 Summer of Love. Skid Row and the ghetto crashed the rich kids’ slumming party. Which is why Burning Man is out in the desert and has a high ticket price.
    The Republican Party paraded an extraordinary menagerie of presidential candidates. This election is theirs to lose, and I predict they will, thus giving John Boehner more reasons to cry. But Obama may yet prove he has what it takes to make whomever the Republicans nominate look good.
    No. Dinkins effect. The guilted whites have done their duty, the newsletters will probably sink my man Paul (but right now we’re second in Iowa and just snagged Bachmann’s chairman there; of course on C-SPAN I enjoyed the vets’ rally/Paul speech there) and mainstream America including the yuppie white women swing vote will elect a mainstream Republican, probably the Mormon robot. (Tall, good-looking WASP from central casting; let’s make him constitutional king, ornamental – Obama would be good at that too – and give the legislature to a libertarian coalition with Paul as prime minister.)
    The obituary columns were flush as ever in 2011, but the fallen celebrity I will miss most is the avuncular Harry Morgan. And I suppose Christopher Hitchens has finally had his questions answered.

    Pope Benedict XVI made some key appointments and decisions that will doubtless outlast his critics: He reinforced the legal status of the Tridentine Mass and saw the first
    (ex-) Anglican ordinariate erected.
    In England where most of the few Anglican would-be Catholics were. No parishes yet (the English Catholic liberals want to kill this of course) but a monsignor ordinary and about a thousand people. Part of Benedict’s program: roll back that damnable council. (I’m for the vernacular and religious freedom and am OK with ecumenism rightly understood but still.) Don’t forget his fixing all the real problems with the Novus Ordo in English.

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