As the chick who does it with Dracula in Dracula once said,* sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. Today is Friday, and that’s good. The American economy collapsed like two years ago and now the only people with jobs are professional assholes arguing about whom to blame for said economy and each other, plus terrorism, and that’s bad. It’s a continuum, see, and we’re all just swept up in it, bobbing up and down like boats, albeit not both up and down simultaneously as would better fit my point. Maybe let’s go back to the pill metaphor. For this week’s link roundup, we have some important stuff that’s so horribly depressing I can barely stand to think about it. We also have Kanye and a fail video, by way of sugar. Won’t you have a swallow with me?
First, the bitter dose of ibuprofen in the big Advil that is the New York Times, Paul Krugman. Krugman points out in his column today what seems both obvious and inadmissible to our national psyche: the economy isn’t recovering. Modest growth in GDP is meaningless, he argues, in the face of continued unemployment, and continued unemployment is what we’ve got for the foreseeable future. Government apparatuses and apparatchiks are unlikely to do anything about it, since there’s no way the American public will buy another stimulus, Congress isn’t likely to become any less obstructionist with more Republicans in it, and “the Fed seems more afraid of the possible loss of face if it tries to help the economy and fails than it is of the costs to the American people if it does nothing, and settles for a recovery that isn’t.” The second half of his column is the kind of technical economist stuff that makes people long for Ross Douthat, but Krug-man’s message is clear. We are screwed.
Okay, but don’t worry you guys because Kanye! Now that you’ve taken your medicine, check out this borderline genius profile piece on the mercurial* rapper, compiled entirely from Twitter tweets, blog posts and televised rantings. Besides offering a weird window into a weird life, it’s a terrifically good idea, as writer Jonah Weiner explains for about 500 words at the beginning. Get past that part, because what comes after is worth it, as is Weiner’s insistence on using the phrase “he told me” to describe Kanye’s tweets. “In West’s acquisition value-system,” Weiner writes, “form left function lying bruised, beaten, and bloody on the mat long ago. At one point West tells me, apropos of nothing, ‘I jog in Lanvin.'” Also, if you’re wondering whether it’s okay to make fun of Kanye: yeah. Yeah it is.
All right—we’ve had our fun, and now it’s back to Alzheimer’s disease and dead embryos. You’ve probably already heard from your embryonic stem cell research and quilting club that a judge blocked federal funding for both* this week, surprising the shit out of scientists everywhere. Judge Lambert’s ruling rested on his interpretation of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, passed by Congress in 1996 and re-adopted annually ever since. In addition to being fun to say, Dickey-Wicker prohibits the use of federal funding for “research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero”—presumably to placate church people. Federally funded research uses stem cells that have already been harvested, so it doesn’t actually destroy any embryos. Still, somebody had to murder the tiny half of a possible future baby to get them, so judge sad. I realize that’s a reductive way to put the argument, but the notion that we’ve decided to let real disease victims languish so that embryos can be thrown away whole is the most depressing thing imaginable.
Oh, wait—this is the most depressing thing imaginable. According to several Republican aides, the GOP plans to launch a series of investigations into the Obama White House if they win a Congressional majority in November. It’ll be like what they did to Bill Clinton, except in the midst of two wars, a continuing recession and a mounting debt crisis. The legislative branch devoting itself full-time to attacking the executive branch as the country founders seems like it would be the ultimate triumph of politics over government, and by “ultimate” I do mean “last.” We’re trying to cut down on the naked partisanship around here, but the GOP seems to have made its position clear: if they’re not allowed to run things, no one will be allowed to run things.
God, that was awful. Fortunately, there’s still justice in this fail video: