21 November 2010

Airport groping

Furry Girl at Feminisnt gives us what may be the blog post of the year: My experience mocking TSA security theater at Seatac as a nearly-naked enfant terrible. Like Dancing Matt, it's delightful in part because it is at the intersection of so many things of our particular historical moment: security theatre gone haywire, sexual politics, the democratization of video, feminism, situationist social criticism ...

The TSA wanted to feel me up or see what I look like without clothes. I get it. I'm a sex worker. My main porn site gets about 3 million unique visitors a year, and clients pay $4 a minute to see me naked on my web cam, so the TSA's interest in me came as no surprise. Normally, I would charge for such a service, but this one was on the house. Duty, country, sacrifice, patriotism, all that.

So that link is, as the saying goes, Not Safe For Work.

(And Furry Girl, if you're reading? It breaks my heart that you feel like you can't fit into a “silly feminist framework.”)

Update: The wittiness of her blog post is not matched by the video she took of the incident, in which her enthusiasm for stripping down for the search seems forced on her part, rather than an organic absurdist response to security theatre.

10 November 2010

Deficit spending

Brad DeLong explains why deficit spending is a very good idea right now.

The principle to which Interfluidity refers is that when times are bad--when your present and expected future resources fall--you should cut back on your commitments. The fact is that these are bad times for private economic actors: their current incomes have fallen, and the high interest rates charged them means that their future resources are worth a lot less than they used to be when translated into claims on today.

But things are completely different for the government.

The terms on which the U.S. government today can borrow are extraordinarily, unbelievably good. The government's current resources have declined with the decline in tax revenue, but the taxes the government will receive in the future are--according to a bunch of calculations John Cochrane made when he came to Berkeley to give a seminar--worth roughly four times as much when translated into claims on goods, services, and labor today as they were worth three years ago. The resource constraints binding private economic actors have become much tighter. But the resource constraints binding the government have--because of the extraordinary falls in interest rates--become much looser. And high unemployment and slack capacity mean that the terms on which the government can get goods, services, and labor are significantly more advantageous than they were three years ago.

Every single particle of logic is crying out that now is the time for the government to pull its spending forward from the future into the present and push its taxes from the present back into the future.

The argument that “governments should be prudent in the same way as households” is not a moral argument: it is a stupid argument. It blindly closes its eyes to the reality that times feel very different for credit-worthy governments than for potentially insolvent private economic actors, and that what is prudence for the second is sheer idiocy for the first.

08 November 2010

Tea Party

A terrific, sharp-tongued summary of the Tea Party's principles Digby:

  • hatred of government
  • a loathing for liberals (and other assorted unreal Americans)
  • the Bible
  • a cartoon constitution
  • a fantasy America in which everyone agrees with them and does exactly what they want

05 November 2010


Michael Been
Singer and songwriter

I just discovered that Michael Been, songwriter for The Call, died a few months back. I’m saddened, and selfishly disappointed that this means he won't be gifting me with any more songs.

I am by no stretch of the imagination a Christian — though I’m syncreticist enough to refer to תפארת, अनाहत, Buddha Compassion, or Christ Love as occasion demands — but that surely isn’t Mr Been's fault. Just as Johnny Cash sang about the severe American Christ the Judge so that even if you didn’t believe in Him you could see how it felt if you did, Been sang about a universal Christ of Glory and Mystery. And like Cash, he didn't do it so it was a chore, taking your medicine — The Call was a rock ’n’ roll band, and they rocked.

I’m badly outvoted on how the cosmos works. If they’re right and I’m wrong, I expect that Been is now standing at God’s right hand now and singing His praises. And someday Peter will ask me in life, did you accept Jesus Christ into your heart? If that does happen, I think I might be able to get away with answering Peter that no, I did not … except during the time I spent listening to Micheal Been sing.