Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quick Hits

--The Common Man rewatched Jon Stewart's interview with former British P.M. Tony Blair last night, and came away just as disappointed in the interview as he was the first time. Stewart, though a comedic genious, seems to have a pathalogical need to extort some kind of apology or admission from every single person connected in any way to The Bush Administration or the Iraq war.

While The Common Man sympathizes with Stewart's frustration and shares his view that invading Iraq was a terrible decision and that the prosecution of the war was unforgivably bungled, it serves no real purpose at this point, in front of a friendly audience (in studio and at home), all of whom agree with Stewart, to browbeat these former officials for the positions they held and to try to get them admit they were wrong. They know they were wrong, and 90 percent of America knows they were wrong. It seems to be a psychological need for victory that Stewart can never quite satisfy, an itch in the small of his back he cannot scratch.

Rather than pursue a line of questioning that could lead to actual insight from a man who has apparently has a close relationship with this President, his decision making, and his administration (particularly the intriguing question of exactly why Tony Blair likes our President so much and wondering about how Blair's newly acquired Catholicism has informed or would inform his decision-making, and what role religion does or should have in a democracy). The Common Man will embed the interview below so you can make up your own mind, but as much as The Common Man loves his work, he thinks Jon Stewart has bought into his own bull a little too much.

--After all, why focus on what the Bush Administration has done in the past, when you could talk about what they're doing right now to screw over this country. According to an NPR report this morning, the banking bailout proposed by the Bush Administration represents "the largest transfer of power from Congress to the administration that [Jon Macey, a professor and deputy dean of Yale Law School] has ever seen." The legislation gives the Secretary of the Treasury virtually unchecked power over any matter regarded to the bailout. In particular, the section that reads "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency" is particularly troubling, as it freezes out oversight from any regulartory agency or legal action that would prevent the Department of the Treasury from taking action. Such a clause, it is The Common Man's understanding, could also allow the Treasury Department to withhold documents and evidence related to its decision-making that would shed light on any potential illegal or unethical behavior.

Considering this administration's close ties to business interests, their consistent attempts to grab more and more power for the executive branch (see Charlie Savage's book, Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy), and their obsession with secrecy, you can bet that the last few months of the Bush Presidency (and potentially all the months of a McCain or Obama presidency) will leave this country criminally underinformed and its investors vulnerable. If you are at all a fan of smaller government, you cannot support this bailout as currently proposed.

--Last night's episode of Heroes was exhilerating. After a disappointing and convoluted second season, The Common Man is glad to see the fighting and the adventure and the crazy powers taking center stage again. The Common Man loves angst in his TV, but when it gets in the way of moving the story forward it simply becomes angst for angst's sake and the endless handwringing is most unmanly and boring. Do something already.

--Tonight begins the last stand of the Minnesota Twins, as they face off against the first-place Chicago White Sox in a three-game series to decide the American League Central. Two-and-a-half games back, it's likely the Twins will need to win all three games in order to have a shot at the division. The series is being played in Minnesota, and the Twins excel at home and the Sox struggle on the road. So there's at least a decent chance for the sweep. As always, The Common Man clings to hope until they have been mathematically eliminated. Good luck, boys. The Common Man will be watching in his Joe Mauer jersey tonight.

--And, finally, The Common Man would like to welcome Return To Manliness back to the blogging fold. Kevin was on hiatus for a while there, and The Common Man missed his insight and his visits to this neck of the blogosphere greatly. He's back writing and has a new layout (ooh, pretty!). So check him out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the good wishes. I have been hemorrhaging RSS readers as of late and rightly so.

This post is great. I watched the same interview and echo your sentiments. I love Stewart and have found great respect for Tony Blair because of this interview. I have no idea what he was trying to do with Blair other than embarrass him.

His whole thing on Argentina?!?! Not worth it - not even for the laughs.

In any event, great post and appreciate the well wishes.