- The House and Dubya just passed a stimulus package that will hopefully, when combined with a drastic Fed rate cut, get the economy out of this little hole we're in. While I'm not one to complain about an extra $600 in my pocket, and I agree that putting money in the hands of those who are more likely to spend it rather than save it will help spur growth, I'm not sure I like the idea. It reeks of a temporary solution to a deep-seeded, long-term problem. If we hadn't spent the past 25 years eviscerating the social safety net, we might be able to let the economy go into the recession that we probably need to scrub the markets clean of this subprime crap, but since our safety net is so lacking, doing so now would just create a far greater social cost than it's worth. There isn't a better option, I guess, but I still don't see how a problem caused by overspending and cheap money is going to be fixed by cash handouts and cheap money.
Anyway, the free market's great and all, but we have to realize that sometimes it screws up. This is the main difference between American liberalism and conservatism when it comes to economic issues - liberals realize that the market's not perfect and is driven by people who often make mistakes. Furthermore, markets are also driven by a herd mentality that turns small disturbances into national crises, and national crises into catastrophes. Conservatives have too much of a tendency to fetishize the market - that is, to pretend that the market is an entity unto itself that functions as if it has a rational mind of its own. But it doesn't. It's made up of people, and people are stupid. It often takes snafus like this to remind us of that fact. Decreased regulation is great and all, but large groups of skittish people sometimes need regulations to keep them from going apeshit. The subprime mortgage market was one of those cases where regulations (ones preventing the securitization of predatory loans, for example, which was passed in NY, NJ, NM, and GA before the Treasury overrode them - read here for more info) could have kept things under control. And it's times like these when we realize that investing in a safety net for the poorest Americans isn't such a bad use of our tax money after all.
- As a University of Utah fan, I have a soft spot in my heart for Rick Majerus, the coach who made Utah basketball relevant. (My hatred for Kentucky can be traced mostly not to my days as an undergrad at Vandy but to the 1998 NCAA finals, where UK came back from way down to beat the Andre Miller-led and Majerus-coached Utes.) I always thought that the man basically lived off of basketball - I think he lived out of a hotel room in Salt Lake City during the season. So imagine my surprise when I found out that he has political views. And that the reason that his job at Saint Louis University is in trouble is because of those views.
Of course, the main person attacking Majerus for his support for Sen. Hillary Clinton's pro-choice, pro-stem cell views is Archbishop and professional douchebag Raymond Burke, who famously ordered his diocese to not give communion to Sen. John Kerry during the 2004 election. (Being forbidden from receiving communion - or an interdict - is kind of a big deal to Catholics. It's kind of like being condemned to Hell while still alive, as far as I understand. Matt, you can correct me on this if you want.) Burke has an massively inflated sense of his own power and importance - apparently, he pines for the days when a pope could declare the kingship of a country open simply because he didn't like the guy currently holding the job. Either way, SLU hired the man to be a basketball coach, and he's an excellent basketball coach. His political views are immaterial, unless the Democratic Party puts a plank in their platform opposing the three-point shot, in which case we can talk. If he goes 5-22, then maybe you could talk about firing him. But until then, Burke needs to go back to issuing interdicts to the bullies in his fourth grade class (I just kind of assume that's what Burke does with his spare time) and leave Majerus and SLU alone, since what Majerus does with his spare time is none of Burke's damn business.
Oh, and you know that David Horowitz guy who goes around "defending" conservatives who think they're being attacked for their views at liberal universities? What about when a liberal is clearly being attacked for his political views at a conservative university?