Last night the second of several family dinners, this time at a DELICIOUS Chinese restaurant, Jan Lue Club on 20th just off 6th Ave, http://juelanclub.com/ There were twelve us at table. This installment of holiday heaven is organized by my ex-wife Wendell Giard and her husband George. In our family, divorce is only the beginning!
1. Good question to start the day: https://medium.com/mtracey/why-are-you-still-talking-about-hillary-clinton-c69d44ceea41#.yihf7pidr I might add that the liberal elites, including our current president, whose eight years of yadayada self-congratulatory posturing have produced little, are also absconding with great amounts of our aural energy with dire predictions of the dystopian future yet to come and the villainous character of his Cabinet appointments. I have known one of these for thirty years, and while he’s not someone I’d rush to go on a cruise with, he’s done a hell of a lot more for the economic health of the country, speaking both nationally and regionally, than the entire editorial staff of The Nation. Obama opened the door for McConnell and his obstructionist friends when, just two weeks after the 2008 election, his transition team, headed by that idiot Podesta, leaked that he would be appointing Summers and Geithner to lead his economic team. The stock market responded with a 1000-point two-day spike, showing its belief as to whose side Obama was really on. You can read all about it in FIXERS, as you can about how it wasn’t just chronological coincidence that in the immediate wake of his wishy-washy inaugural address – you were hoping for FDR? I was! – the GOP got together and pledged to oppose the new president’s every initiative. We can take this guy, they realized; he’s just a hot-air balloon, an exponentiated campus politician. And so, in largest measure, has it proved.
As for Trump, I discuss him with our housekeeper, a person of color and an immigrant. As she puts it, “You never can tell, just wait and see.” All this pre-inaugural bellyaching, all these pronouncements for evil days to come that reek with Krugmanesque punditical certitude, are simply pitiful examples of what my late friend Liquor Jack was wont to describe as “leaving one’s fight in the locker room.”
2.This post from Politico’s “Morning Money” caught my eye:
“In the lessons learned category, MM regrets not focusing more on the difficulty of an incumbent party hanging onto the White House for a third consecutive term, even with an economy at nearly full employment and trending in the right direction. Clinton’s weakness at connecting with younger voters and working class whites also could have used more examination. And never again will we believe that [insert outrageous gaffe here] will finish a political candidate. Trump blew that all away. Not that anyone not named Trump could pull it off. But still …
In the spirit of the season, we here at MM are hoping for the best for an incoming administration that will face enormous challenges in actually delivering on the promise of a manufacturing renaissance in the industrial Midwest and more broadly shared growth. Best of luck also in reducing the trade deficit in the face of a surging dollar. But those are stories for next year.”
It caught my eye because it speaks for the elitist viewpoint, which means that it’s deeply stupid. “Full employment” treats human beings as a statistic. But shouldn’t we be concerned as whether our workforce, both on the job or looking for work, is fully employed – which begs the question of whether the work is useful, or productive. Is that a word we can attach to a roomful of MIT or CalTech computer science PhDs squinting at monitors as they try to come up with an app that will engage the fantasies of 8-year-olds? Isn’t the economic yardstick that matters a comparison of what people earn with what they owe, with what it costs to house oneself? There will be no “manufacturing renaissance.” Why? Because when once we feared Yeats’s “rough beast…slouching toward Bethlehem to be reborn” now we need to fear our own “shining robot…clanking toward (fill in place name) to take over.” Read about the robots that are being installed in Amazon’s fulfillment centers. The jobs they’re replacing are as likely to be in Monterrey as Milwaukee. This has got me thinking about stupidity (the act of doing or saying something stupid), which – like victory – has many fathers. One, of course, is simple ignorance. But another, to which we may not pay as much attention as we should, is intellectual arrogance.
3, I’ve been searching for years for an antidote to the poetry of Jorie Graham. Sound like this might be it: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2016/12/hammer_is_the_prayer_by_christian_wiman_reviewed.html