The Running of the Bullshit

Our guest columnist is CNBC.

10 am, Friday, August 23

BREAKING: Fed chair Powell in Jackson Hole speech: No ‘rulebook’ on trade, pledges the Fed will ‘act as appropriate’ to sustain the economy

10:07 am

Stocks jump to session highs & Dow turns positive after Powell’s Jackson Hole speech

10:43 am

Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500 now all in positive territory after Powell speech

10:45 am

BREAKING: After Fed chair’s Jackson Hole speech, Trump tweets: “Who is our bigger enemy, Jay [Powell] or Chairman Xi?”

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The Week Ahead

Time was when a week meant something.

You could plan for it, a week. You could go into Monday with some clue where you’d be by Friday. Sure, things happen, the usual muddle, but you could plan for that too, the expectation of a few twists and turns, nothing major, nothing out of the ordinary.

Weeks were ordinary. Months were ordinary, more or less. Even a year could go by, not much different than the last.

We don’t remember the last time anything felt ordinary.

Take Greenland.

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The Prison Guard in the Cell with a Rope

First off: Yay.

We have no interest in capital punishment. No faith in it, really. As administered, there’s no justice in it — statistically, guess who’s executed disproportionately — and much cruelty, especially with states freestyling their lethal cocktails in recent years. There’s also no certainty to it — innocents die — and then, if you’d like to get into some geeky theoretical chatter about The State, we’re there for it.

But we’re no gentle pacifist. Sometimes you just wanna fry the bastard. But state executions are problematic in theory and application, so you settle for the justice that’s otherwise available and appropriate under law.

Unless some asshole wants to spend long, painful minutes asphyxiating himself while dangling from the ceiling, in which case, y’know, sometimes shit takes care of itself.


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It always arrives with the force of a hurricane.

Trump provokes. America reacts.

Every time.

Without fail.

It’s happening right now. Trump provoked. Something about Baltimore. But it wasn’t really about Baltimore. It was about the black congressman representing Baltimore. It was about the black people living in Baltimore.

But it wasn’t even about that.

It was about black people.

That was the provocation.

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We Blew It All Up

“The Sixties were an aberration,” he told me.

We were sitting in his office. He was a fortyish school-district superintendent. I was a 23-year-old reporter.

It was 1982. He knew what he was talking about. I didn’t.

The Sixties were an aberration.

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35 Cents Cheap

When we think of Mad magazine, we think of Jack Davis.

We could think of Dave Berg, or Antonio Prohias, or Al Jaffee, or Sergio Aragones, or Norman Mingo, but no, it’s Jack Davis who lands first.

When we think of Mad, we think of the artists. The Usual Gang of Idiots included writers, of course, and one William M. Gaines, but now Dick DeBartolo comes to mind.

One writer. Took a moment.

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Springtime for Hitlers

We thought we understood fascism.

The American kind, anyway. The kind that almost consumed the country in the 1930s, as it had consumed others. The kind rooted in economic depression, in desperation, in opportunistic leadership. The kind rooted in fantasy, a quick fix to an unsolvable, unendurable crisis.

We thought we understood that.

We thought we understood that all problems are economic, when you cut through the bullshit. Healthy countries — economically healthy countries — don’t have these problems. We all get by, we all get along. We all have a roof over our heads.

We wuz wrong.

And thing is, we knew this. After all, we had lived through it. Still are.

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