America's Missing Cukes!
Plus--Mike Huckakis for President?
How to Get Rich Off Liberal Media Bias (without becoming a pundit)! At a lecture today at the Milken Institute, economist/blogger Tyler Cowen said he didn't think the subprime mortgage crisis was such a big deal for the nation's economy. That's always been my untutored sense--it seemed clear the MSM was hyping the crisis because a) it was the story of the moment; b) economic news is always bad news; and c) the anti-Bush, anti-GOP press is now in permanent campaign mode--and the economy is one of the few things the Republicans, and Bush's policies, might be able to take some credit for. If it tanks, they're really dead. So the press has a catastrophist bias** when it comes to the economy. Remember when Enron was going to sink it in 2002? However big the subprime problem is, it was never going to be as big as the press makes out.
Which led me to this potential moneymaking idea: The moderate lib bias of the MSM is a huge irrational, distorting force on the information flow to the American elite, prompting them to not infrequently make colossal misjudgments (like thinking John Kerry would be a solid presidential pick for the Dems). To the extent this organic MSM bias actually distorts the market, it should create opportunites for stock-picking. Why not start an investment fund --call it the Cocoon Fund or the Pinch Portfolio-- that would 1) search the papers for bogus liberal memes (like the subprime-dooms-the-economy story line, or the perennial UAW-to-organize-Nissan's-Smyrna-factory line); 2) figure out which stocks are underpriced because people actually believe this bogus meme; and 3) invest in those stocks. ... You could have made a killing just on the MSM prediction that comprehensive immigration reform would pass, no? ... Even better: This would be a strategy that could work for a long time, since the basic ideological structure of the MSM doesn't show signs of rapid change (only of slowly diminishing in importance). ...
**: "Isn't that a classic formula for a recession"--Charles Gibson on ABC World News this evening, citing both some mushy policymaker sound bites about the mortgage mess--sorry, "crisis"--and a rise in gas prices. Gibson was reluctant to take "no" for an answer. ("[A]re we really broad-based enough ... [to] not have a recession?") .. 3:22 A.M. link
I'm not included on RightyBlogs.com. So there. ... 2:19 A.M.
Postal: Angry scene at the LAX post office, where I went this evening to mail my tax returns--midnight being the deadline if you took advantage of the automatic 6 month extension. I arrived at about 10, figuring either it wouldn't be crowded, or else there would be friendly postal workers outside with bins as on April 15. Instead, the lobby was packed with hundreds of people standing in hours long lines for the relatively few postal workers inside--even if your letters were stamped and you didn't want to send it certified mail, you had to wait in line. They steered me to the back of the line, which was outside the building--they weren't letting anybody else inside, under orders from the Fire Department. I was tenth from the door--and that's where I still was at 11:30 when a manager in a track suit came out and said they weren't going to let us in at all. Argument ensued. People noted they'd been there two hours before the deadline. They pointed out they were there to pay the manager's salary. The manager said, "You had 365 days," which of course pissed everyone off more. I gave up and stuck my returns in the mailbox outside. As I walked away at 11:55 angry taxpayers were chanting "Hell no, we won't go." ... All in all, a) impressive incompetence and callousness of the sort that obliterates support and respect for government (at least government that isn't just cutting checks).** Isn't it a basic principle of retailing that you're supposed to make it easy for people to give you money? ... Also b) more race and class-mixing than I'd seen in a long time. A common enemy does that! Who said the state can't help create social equality? ...
Photograph of Ann Coulter on Slate's home page by Brad Barket/Getty. Photograph of a wedding cake with two grooms on Slate's home page by Hector Mata/AFP Photo. Photograph of Princess Diana on Slate's home page by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images.