Taking a flyer

My father is among many people who use the idiom “take a flyer” to mean “take a risk”. (I know that millions of other people use the expression also, but I always hear it in my father’s voice: “Go ahead, take a flyer. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” etc, etc). Well, I certainly took a flyer when I got laid off from the proverbial day job sixteen years ago and decided to move to Martha’s Vineyard & try to make a living as a freelance technical writer. And I took a flyer when I then took a few years to write a novel in between stints as truck driver, construction laborer, etc. And I took a flyer when I decided to self-publish. But today I’m going to talk about when I took a flyer & crafted a cheesy hand-drawn flyer as a marketing tool for my books, making me look perhaps even more of a crackpot than I actually am, if that’s possible. In some ways it was the most successful of all of these flyers.

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A Recovery Plan Which Would Actually Work (and which isn't designed by the ex-chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs for his buddies)

I have watched with a combination of amazement and horror at the way the Democratic leadership has caved in to demands that Congress enact the Paulson Plan. There are many reasons for opposing this ill-conceived plan, including the facts that it aims only at rescuing the shareholders and unsecured creditors of financial institutions and it was crafted by a former chairman of Goldman Sachs to bail his banker buddies out while leaving the rest of us with a bill for as much as $700 billion. But the worst of it is that it will do very little to address the fundamental credit contraction arising from deflation of a massive housing bubble which underlies the current crisis, as evidenced by the continued worsening of money markets even after the Senate’s adoption of the revised plan.

I have nearly laughed myself silly at Republican claims that the Paulson Plan amounts to socialism (in fact, it’s far closer to the Mefo Bill scheme that Hjalmar Schacht designed than anything the left would come up with). So I offer a plan designed by a left social democrat that would actually address the economic basis of the current credit crisis (and, thus, a socialist way to really pull capitalism’s chestnuts out of the fire). The plan is heavily influenced by Nouriel Roubini’s excellent analysis — I heartily recommend his blog for extremely insightful discussion of the credit crisis — but goes much further in remedying the underlying flaws in the financial system.

More below….

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Would somebody please taze the WSJ?

Well the so-called journalists of the Wall Street Journal are back to their usual practice of making shit up in the name of capitalism and Victory! and Freedom! and A Pony — or whatever it is they’re arguing for.

Call me a dreamer, but I kinda like the idea that editorial boards of extremely prominent media outlets would do at least rudimentary fact-checking before racing off to their foregone conclusions.

I can hardly wait until Rupert gets hid 48-point Helvetica-Bold hands on this paper. The editorial page, already the next best thing to an acid trip for those who don’t chemically imbibe, will likely become the apotheosis of truthiness, kinda like Alan Greenspan talking about geopolitics under the influence of Atlas Shrugged and some of that bad windowpane that was going around at Woodstock.

By the way, I really am not asking anybody to taze the WSJ. Nor do I want anybody to shoot the WSJ in the face. We’ll leave those kinds of things to people in uniform and Vice Presidents of the United States, respectively.

Petraeus == Betray us

Or not, who knows, I don’t care. It’s an enlisted man’s pun, you wouldn’t understand. I just want to see if I can get the Senate of the United States of America to debate Wetmachine and maybe pass a resolution denouncing us. I’m sure that would be good for traffic, which is what it’s all about, ain’t it? Net capitalism, dude. It’s what’s for dinner.

But I don’t know why I bother, because Comcast or AT&T, the new Cellular, will edit this en route to your eyballs, and you’ll never even know I wrote it. It will be like the memory hole, only more high tech. And the bits will seal up around the absense of my message just like the metal man in Terminator Two, Judgement Day. (Remember, in Soviet Russia, Internet censors YOU!)

Hey, don’t taze me, bro. I’m just say’n what it is.

You may now go back to reading the triumphal return post, below, from our long-lost Web 3.0 boy, Howard Stearns.

The Ironies

For some time now I have been wanting to write that seminal piece explaining the essence of the philosophy of “technoskepticism” that motivated my desire to start up Wetmachine in the first place. My brilliant essay, in the line of the late Neil Postman’s Technopoloy and all of the grouchy, curmudgeonly works of the late, great Christopher Lasch (Culture of Narcissism, Revolt of the Elites, etc) would, in a playful yet dazzlingly serious manner, address the fundamental ironies of our time resultant from the fetishization of technology that has taken on the role of religion in “modern” societies that naively believe they’re past all that.

Perhaps I would address scary (but nevertheless ironic) phenomena like technology-boosted asymmetric warfare as carried out by midieaval fundamentalists — today’s blasts in London presumably the latest sad manifistation thereof. And perhaps I would digress to discuss internet pornography consumption among teenagers in the pro-capitalism Bible Belt of the USA, another region in which the “internal contradictions” of the fundamentalist-technopolist religion play out.

Alas I have no time to work on this essay today. Because I’m really behind the 8-ball at work, as a consequence of having dropped my Powerbook into a puddle of coffee some weeks ago. It’s still “in the shop” and I’ve been reduced to using the virus-infested, 4-year old Gateway(tm) that is our family computer. Let me tell you, this thing is slow. And, I don’t have all my favorite tools installed on it. And there’s nothing quite so frustrating as trying to write a powerful essay on the ironies of technology addiction on a crappy old Windoze machine, that much I’m sure of.

So perhaps some other time.