Daily Office:


Matins: I wouldn’t have watched last evening’s presidential debate for less than a million dollars. A million dollars, invested in the right Madagascar Triple-A’s, would allow me to hold on to my rent-stabilized apartment for at least eighteen months. Happily, the Times assigned a dozen (!) journalists to the fun job of assessing the truthiness of the candidates’ claims. No need to submit one’s person to all that body English!

Prime: I’ve just seen the instantly infamous “that one” clip, from last night’s debate. Ouch!

Tierce: The press corps in Albany dwindles, with the closing of the Sun, to about forty reporters. That sounds like a lot, though, doesn’t it, to cover a climate notoriously afflicted with political lockjaw. The good old days in Byzantium seem more spontaneous by comparison.  

Sext: Maybe what’s going to save us from the 1929 playbook will be the 1789 playbook! “After bailout, AIG sent executives to the spa.” (Thanks, George.)


§ Matins. It’s nice to know that Mr Obama exaggerates. He claims that 95% of American households would benefit from tax cuts, while the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan organization (is that possible?) puts the number at 81%. Which changes everything….

§ Prime. The Ouch! part is that McCain’s apparently patronizing usage could be construed as a sign of familiar affection. Wildly inappropriate in a presidential debate, and the gentlemen are hardly drinking buddies. And don’t think that I’m trying to defend the Senator from Arizona! It’s a sign of his lack of control and his propensity to slip.

§ Tierce. Reporter Jeremy W Peters wonders,

This journalistic exodus raises questions about whether politicians and special interests in Albany — a place with tremendous power and a history of how that power can corrupt — will be given the scrutiny they merit.

But put the scandals to one side. The press have been utterly unable to assist in the repair of the thoroughly broken New York State government, which, until very recently, was in the hands of three office-holders (the Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the Senate Majority Leader). If you weren’t one of these, you might just as well not show up. Scandalous conduct at least gave idle representatives something to chew on!

The old model of journalism is just about as broken, not because good stories don’t get reported but because the public isn’t paying attention. Reporters and the officials whom they cover have all but conspired to blanket their doings in Ambien.

§ Sext. Having grown up in it, I’ve often tried to tell people about the bubble in which the higher echelons of American corporate life live, with their families. It’s not so much a class thing as a convenience thing. Life was somewhat humbler when I was a boy, but the idea was the same: if there was a problem, someone “from the company” would take care of it. Believe me, you get used to that! 

Tacky as the AIG junket looks, it’s 100% business as usual. And don’t go thinking that these guys were having a good time! They were just having a well-moisturized bad time.

3 Responses to “Daily Office:

  1. Fossil Darling says:

    Madagascar AAAs? How about the poor (literally) soul who got paid in Nicaraguan bonds for his factory which the Sandinistas sezied…..his lawyer has been in touch with me to see about their markerability…..as the Great One would say, “Har har de hardy har har”

  2. 1904 says:

    I am old enough to recall the good old days when travek and expense accounts were only given the most cursory of inspections because after all, we were making money hand over fist. And then I remember the beginning of the Tightening of Belts, so to speak. But really, this current behavior is in very bad form. It shows a contempt in exactly the manner that old chestnut about the masses eating cake was intended to be understood. There’s no excuse for these AIG prigs pretending they didn’t realize. I say again, the custom of drawing and quartering with the parts hung up after for public display should be seriously reconsidered. I have candidates for the first re-enactment.

  3. LTG says:

    *Snort*! A well moisturized bad time. That gets the expression of the day award.

    I hate watching the debates as well, but try to. I made it through 45 minutes of Palin/Biden before I could not stand it anymore. I made it slightly longer last night through 50 minutes of McCain and Obama. The only debate I think I’d be truly interested in watching would be an unscripted, unmoderated slug fest with no audience member screening, no canned questions, no “host”. Just a bunch of topics, a chance to ask free form questions, and a healthy back and forth with some ability to respond to each other. But god knows that’ll never happen. The only thing vaguely interesting is that infernal reaction meter they stick on the screen now with the instantaneous responses of the nebulous “undecided Ohio voters” bouncing up and down. I especially like how health care resonates with women and being tough guys resonates with men, apparently. I think we could use a meter like this on a whole host television commentary and news programs.