I’m starting to worry that Ocelopotamus has become like that stock old-man character from sitcoms and things, who falls asleep for a while and then wakes up sputtering and tries to pick the conversation up wherever it was five minutes ago, as if no time has passed.
On the other hand, it’s heartening that I can go three weeks without posting anything but a music video (albeit a BRILLIANT one), and there are at least four of you who still click on this thing regularly. In addition to the thirty people who still show up every day to discover those LOLHeroes pictures, which are totally my “99 Luftballoons” one-hit-wonder contribution to the field of blogging.
I could blame OcPot’s most recent long silence on all that messy bill-paying daywork I have to do, but the need to wrap a muscular fifteen-pound blue cat in a towel and get a milliliter or so of antibiotics and/or steroids down his throat a couple of times a day, and then spend 45 minutes vacuuming up all the litter he gaily strews around the apartment in the course of his 32 trips in and out of the litterbox each day â€” well, all of that can crimp a girl’s style, too.
Anyhowzabadoodle, while I can’t deliver a full-fledged OcPot roundup like in the glory days that made this blog a household word (at least in households where people spend a lot of time uttering random combinations of syllables for no good reason), as a consolation prize here are some warmed-up, heavily salted and ketchupped links I’ve been saving up over the last couple of weeks, just for you.
Let’s start off with something good and depressing. Harold Meyerson’s column from yesterday’s Washington Post about the coming (or possibly already-here) recessionary hraka-storm is one of the clearest assessments I’ve read.
In a normal recession, the to-do list is clear … [but] the coming recession will not be normal, and our economy is not fundamentally sound. This time around, the nation will have to craft new versions of some of the reforms that Franklin Roosevelt created to steer the nation out of the Great Depression — not because anything like a major depression looms but because we face an economy that’s been warped by two developments we’ve not seen since FDR’s time.
The first of these is the stagnation of ordinary Americans’ incomes, a phenomenon that began back in the 1970s and that American families have offset by having both spouses work and by drawing on the rising value of their homes. With housing values toppling, no more spouses to send into the workplace, and prices of gas, college and health care continuing to rise, consumers are played out.
… What’s alarming is that this slump in purchasing power doesn’t appear to be merely cyclical. Wages have been flat-lining for a long time now, the housing bubble isn’t going to be reinflated anytime soon, and the upward pressure on oil prices is only going to mount. As in Roosevelt’s time, we need a policy that boosts incomes and finds new solutions for our energy needs.
FDR’s long-term income remedies included Social Security, the Wagner Act (which made it possible for many workers to join unions) and public works projects — including a massive electrification of rural America. A comparable set of solutions today would include the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would enable workers in nonexportable service-sector jobs to unionize without fear of being fired. It would include a massive, federally financed program to retrofit America, creating several million “green jobs” in the process.
On these issues, there’s a clear difference between the two parties.
Go read the rest of it.
What else have I got in my pockets for you?
• Well, on a lighter note: In case you didn’t see it, a couple of Sundays back this very entertaining diary, which was posted on Daily Kos and many other places, gave us shiny new nicknames for all the Republican candidates. I’m not sure whether I really buy that it’s the unassisted creation of a 9-year-old, but I do know that I will be thinking of Rudy Giuliani as “Carrot Face,” Mike Huckabee as “Beagle Eyes,” Ron Paul as “Bunny Ears,” John McCain as “Sarge,” Fred Thompson as “Wrinkles,” and Mitt Romney as “Oily” for quite some time to come.
• Speaking of Beagle Eyes, I hope you didn’t miss him congratulating Canada on its National Igloo.
• DownWithTyranny on Obama’s calls for “post-partisanship”:
Itâ€™s hard to see how Senator Obamaâ€™s stratospheric soar above partisanship can work. Itâ€™s based on the assumption that the reason we havenâ€™t all gotten together and worked all this stuff out together in a spirit of harmony is because nobody ever thought of it. Does anyone really believe this?
Apparently so. But while there are certainly narrow issuesâ€“important ones, but narrow onesâ€“where such compromises might be thrashed out in a dialogue unpolluted by the demagoguery of the Far Right, there arenâ€™t all that many such issues, and hardly any of the really crucial issues qualify.
• Five-year-old turns up on the no-fly list.
• Homophobic couple’s attempt to censor the book King & King from libraries backfires.
• Will Smith has been claimed for the dark lord Xenu.
• This really bums me out â€” Hasbro and Mattel are ordering Facebook to remove Scrabulous. Fortunately, there is a “Save Scrabulous” campaign … you’d think that given how many bazillions Facebook and its community are supposed to be valued at, some kind of a deal could be worked out.
• Billy Bragg is working with Mick Jones and others to bring musical instruments to prisoners through a program called Jail Guitar Doors â€” in part as a memorial to Joe Strummer.
The article also says Uncle Bill has a new album coming out in March 2008, his first in six years, called Mr Love and Justice.
• Interview with Terry Jones ahead of the premiere of his new musical Evil Machines.
• Let Abode Arcobrat handle all your improtamant docomunents!