Varieties of Barackrobatics I: The Outright Lie

Thought I should start classifying the ways in which our president's dazzling rhetoric is used to bamboozle. The example today is: The Outright Lie.

OK, maybe I should say probable outright lies. Here's an example from the Inaugural Address:

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.
Whoa! "Programs will end." Just like that. Sounds like a nod toward sane fiscal responsibility. Impressive!

But all "programs" benefit someone ("at a decent wage"), don't they? I predict that programs ended by the Obama administration under this criterion will be zero.

At Cato, Daniel Griswold notes that if there ever was a program ripe for ending, it's …

President Obama has wrapped himself in the mantle of change, yet as a candidate he endorsed the 2008 farm bill. The existing U.S. policy of production subsidies and import tariffs, a policy that has remained essentially unchanged for 75 years, arguably "works" for a small number of relatively well-off sugar, dairy, corn, rice, and cotton farmers. But for the vast majority of Americans, the farm bill delivers higher and more volatile prices at the store, billions of dollars a year in additional government spending, higher cost for U.S. businesses, a degraded environment, and a harder slog out of poverty for millions of farmers in less developed countries. [You can go here to find Cato research on how farm programs have failed to work in our national interest.]

If Senator and candidate Obama could not see the need to end our failed farm policies, it is hard to imagine many if any other programs that will come to an end under his administration.

Indeed. Another bit of evidence comes from Donald Lambro, writing about the "stimulus" funds. The article is full of outrageousness, but for our purposes, here's a key point:

Another $54 billion will go to 19 programs that the Office of Management and Budget has rated as "ineffective" or "results not demonstrated."
The outlook isn't good for fiscal sanity anytime soon despite Inaugural Barackrobatics. If I'm wrong, I'll apologize.

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Sean Casey is retiring from baseball, going to work for the MLB Network (whatever that is). Key quote from writer Hal McCoy:

There's no debate, and there never will be a debate. Sean Casey is the nicest guy in professional baseball. Ever.

And the Red Sox—sigh—now have another hole to fill.

Let me rerun a YouTube from late last season, where Casey asks Ortiz about his favorite flicks:

If you don't have your Big Papi decoder ring handy, and you're wondering why you've never heard of his number two pick, Anna Likes This, click here.

Last Modified 2012-10-08 8:28 PM EDT

The Darjeeling Limited

[Amazon Link] [2.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

Other people like Wes Anderson movies about rich dysfunctional families better than I do, I guess. I didn't much care for The Royal Tenenbaums either. (But, to be fair, Anderson's American Express commercial from a while back is one of the funniest ever, so he probably deserves slack.)

The story here follows three estranged brothers (played by Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman). Messed up by the year-ago death of their father, they are on a "spiritual journey" by train to seek out their mom, who is working as a Christian missionary in India.

Primary problem: why should I care? These people invite unflattering adjectives: vain, boorish, immature, … I'm not one for the whole class-warfare thing, but rich people with these sort of problems don't grab my interest or sympathy.

Oh yeah, they literally are carrying their late father's suitcases. They need to get rid of their baggage, get it? Sheesh.

Last Modified 2012-10-08 8:28 PM EDT