“The Newsroom”

I’ve resisted commenting on HBO’s series The Newsroom. Last night’s session finale changed my mind. From the Important Music of the show’s theme song to the Deep Discussions of Serious Issues, the show has been an exercise in pretension and faux balance, Aaron Sorkin’s insular Hollywood form room bull session version of “wouldn’t it be like totally great if”.

WIBLTGI there was this Republican news anchor who saw the light and began denouncing Republicans? I’ll concede that it would need interesting if there were a Republican news anchor at all. However, it seems to me that there should be a modicum of party loyalty in order to be a member. Not blind unquestioning loyalty, mind you. Perhaps a smidgen of sympathy for people in the same party. Charlie Crist, former governor of Florida, is not a Republican, not anymore, and his recent behavior calls into question whether he was ever a Republican.

WIBLTGI if the left wing interpretation of events was presented as Truth? Of course, one problem for the Left is that they deny the existence of objective truth. Everything is subjective, relative, contingent. I’m OK, you’re OK. Unless you disagree with that proposition, in which case you are an atavistic threat to civilization. So, our valiant truth-seekers in The Newsroom invariably uncover only what liberals believe. When challenged to think “outside the box” for stories to be covered, nobody suggests looking at the ATF shipping guns to Mexican drug gangs. Now, the only “outside the box” idea is whether Bigfoot is real, or whether there is intelligent life on other planets.

WIBLTGI conservatives were liberal? So, we have the financial reporter asserting that raising the debt limit doesn’t mean that the US will be borrowing more money. I’ve tried Googling that, and failed to get any hits that say anything other than that the debt ceiling is the limit of the Federal government’s ability to borrow. Raising it increases the amount that can be borrowed. Maybe there is some overly precise interpretation that says the government isn’t required to borrow more just because the debt ceiling has been raised. That utterly misses the point of the debt ceiling debate, which took place solely because the Federal government wanted to borrow more money. Just because American Express increases the limit on my credit card doesn’t mean that I’m automatically deeper in debt; I have to draw down on the increased line. But the argument made for raising the debt limit was that we had to borrow more money; otherwise we would default on our debt. (Let me translate that for you: we had to borrow money in order to pay the interest on existing debt.) That was the apocalyptic scenario presented by those who wanted to raise the debt limit; which means that there was no possibility of the new limit going unused. We are also told by our intrepid objective Republican reporters that it was the debt ceiling debate that drove S&P to lower the US credit rating. No. It was the crystal clarity provided by the Democrats, that we needed to borrow money to service existing debt, that caused the drop in the rating. It’s one thing to borrow money to invest in new assets; it’s quite another to be unable to pay interest without more borrowing.

Anyway. The series was interesting for some of the acting and some of the actors. There was a degree of morbid curiosity about whether they would ever notice that Obama has created a Star Chamber, enhanced with the power to put people to death. Will star-crossed lovers Maggie & Jim get together? What about Will and Mackenzie? Will grubby capitalist owner, unsurprisingly unconvincingly played by Jane Fonda, succeed in forcing out our heroes, as is apparently being demanded by Satan the Koch brothers?

In the final episode, all of this fell apart, with adults behaving like especially dysfunctional children. (Emily Mortimer’s performance in the hospital room was embarrassing.) This was topped off by our Republican-because-Aaron-Sorkin-says-so anchor announcing that the Tea Party is the “American Taliban”. Pricing that Aaron Sorkin’s interpretation of a “good” Republican is a lunatic Democrat.

Bah. True Blood has greater verisimilitude.


Obama Nails It

Poor Pres. Obama. Someone allowed him to speak without his teleprompter today. The key quote is at 15:57. “The American people have assumed that if you want to be president of the United States that your life’s an open book when it comes to things like finances.”

“Open book”? So, may we see the President’s school records? Did he apply as a foreign student?

May we see his passport applications? Has he ever represented himself, or been represented by others, as a foreign national?

May we know the reason(s) he and his  surrendered their lenses to practice law?

Don’t believe that last one? Check this out, from the Illinois State database of lawyers.


Open book? Heck, yeah.

Fragility and the Evolution of Our Humanity | On Being

A recent broadcast on NPR featured a French geo-physicist, who applied his knowledge of plate tectonics to social questions. The entire broadcast is worth hearing. For those of you who don’t have the time, here is my attempt to capture the gist:

Deep below the surface of the earth, where the temperatures are very high, the structure of the rock is weak, allowing the lava to pass through without destroying the existing structure. Closer to the surface, where the structures are stronger, they are unable to allow for the lava, with the result that the lava breaks up the existing structure in order to make a path for itself.

His application to society is that we should value the weaker members of our society. They are the ones who keep us malleable enough to survive stresses on our societal structure.

Thoughts on Paul Ryan

I think this will turn out to be a great choice.

First, Ryan has a demonstrated capacity to get under Obama’s skin. (h/t Drudge) If Moe Lane is correct, this will generate more irrationality in the Obama campaign.

Next, the choice appears to have involved no pandering. Rubio would have been seen as pandering to Latinos; some other choices would have seemed efforts to lock up swing States. (Herman Cain made this point on Fox News this morning.)

The election is now a clear choice between governing philosophies.

Paul Ryan is, without doubt, a solid conservative. Shores up the base. Comforts the Tea Party.

This may bring some of Scott Walker’s electoral success to the Romney campaign.

Degrees of Separation

According to this recent ad by a pro-Obama PAC, Mitt Romney is responsible for a woman’s death because:
1. After Romney had left Bain Capital,  the firm closed a steel company it had tried to turn around, causing
2. Joe Soptic to lose the health insurance he had through the steel firm, although
3. Joe’s wife had health insurance through her own job. In 2006,
4. Joe’s wife was diagnosed with cancer, and died in 22 days.

President Obama in October 2011, without charges ever being filed, without any trial, ordered the killing of Anwar al-Alaki, and in a separate attack, al-Awlaki’s son.

Compare and contrast.