Sunday, October 31, 2010

Does election spending matter? Wrong question.

In analysis of election spending, the election outcome does not matter. The only thing that matters is the policy outcome. The only thing that matters is the quid pro quo. After Citizens United, and now that we are in the midst of a pile of shitty ads excreted by that infamous ruling, we have been treated to studies and musings over the extent to which money influences elections. In the musings category, there is a typically dim op-ed by David Brooks that discounts the Citizen's United ruling and the overall effect of money. On the Media, a typically excellent NPR program, gets in on the act as well. On this week's show, Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner argues that there is no causal relationship between total contributions and election outcome, and UVA professor Paul Freedman discusses a decade-long study finding that negative ads perform a wonderful public service, much like libraries and Roman vomitariums.

Yes, diligent reader, I am pissed at our treatment of this important issue. I think we are completely missing the point. The point is not the election outcome. Who gives a rats patoot if the Democrat or Republican wins? What is the policy outcome? What is the quid pro quo? Do a study on that, and you have got my attention.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Heaven's Pre-Election Thread

Jesus: So I was walking down Wall St. the other day, and I stopped and stared at that statue of the bull-- you know the one with its ass and balls exposed like some goddamn altar to Baal? I was staring right into that bull's balls, looking at my reflection in them. Then some city maintanence worker drops by, and he cleans and polishes the balls. For a moment, I cracked up cuz it reminded me of the ball-polishing scene in Big Lebowski. (Don't fuck with the Jesus! ROFLGANGER) Anyways, when I snapped out of that, I thought about everything those bull's testicles symbolize, and I thought about Obama and the election and Democrats dragging their ass, and I asked myself, "Do we have to await God's judgment on these Wall St. types to get any justice?"

Billy Graham: Jesus, we are all frustrated over the economy. We should not act rashly. Awaiting God's judgement seems like a good idea.

Jesus: Fuck off, Graham. It was a rhetorical question.

Billy Graham: right, I'll fuck off now.

Karl Marx: @Jesus- You know, we do have to await God's judgment on these folks to get any justice. That's why religion exists; it allows the elites to escape all accountability for their crimes.

Jesus: Karl, I happen to know that God exists. I am the son of God. I perform miracles.

Karl Marx: Jesus, I'm not saying God doesn't exist. I'm saying that organized religion is totally effed in the A. It's a tool of the powerful.

Jesus: Granted, it's a tool sometimes. It's abused sometimes. But Christianity was totally grassroots for three centuries.

Karl Marx: ...before it was astroturfed by Constantine

Jesus: ... before it was saved from Roman astroturfing by God, who totally smote the Romans for being asshats, in His Holy Estimation

Karl Marx: .. . before it was re-astroturfed by Charlamagne

Jesus: ... before it was saved, again, from astroturfing by God's Holy Smiting Bolt

Karl Marx: Really? We're gonna keep on doing this? It's your position that God smites everyone who uses Christianity to wield power?

Jesus: Yes, often-- I mean, generally, in the long run. But look, even if God missed a few smitings (ahem, Billy Graham), He totally kept Christianity OG gansta. Cuz if Christianity were totally about power, then how did the stuff about the camel and needle get through the censors? Or the part about David screwing his not-wife? Or the four gospels? Why would a religion need four stories about how I'm awesome? It wouldn't, unless it was interested in getting the story straight.

Karl Marx: That's a good defense of Christianity, Jesus, but it doesn't refute my argument that religion IS used as a tool of the powerful. And until God pre-smites everyone who wants to be a d-bag in Your Name, then we have to deal with the resulting d-baggery on our own.

GOD: Hey guys, may I say something here? Karl Marx is right.

Karl Marx: Awesome. So can we expect smitings and pre-smitings and the outing of all right-wing homophobic preachers?

GOD: Um, no, but I can push up the date of the Rapture. Let me check my palm...

Jesus: Shit, dad, you don't have an iphone yet?

GOD: Fuck no, fuck ATT. Wiretapping motherfuckers... I'm using Credo Mobile.

GOD: right, I can fit the rapture in August 2017, assuming a republican is president.

Karl Marx: I got Tim Pawlenty.

Jesus: Too moderate. It'll be Dick Cheney's re-animated head.

GOD: Nah, General Petreus. Trust me, shit's in the bag.