Oh, Just Liberal Attack Points

Colin Powell says Georgia provoked Russian crisis, hints McCain’s response was hasty, reckless

Senator John McCain’s campaign manager was paid millions by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help them escape regulations.

60 Minutes, “In 1999 you were one of the senators who helped pass deregulation of Wall Street. Do you regret that now?” McCain: No, I think the deregulation was probably helpful to the growth of our economy.

McCain’s mortality:

Over 2,300 doctors have signed an open letter entitled “John McCain’s Health Records Must Be Released.” That includes dozens of oncologists and melanoma specialists. If these medical professionals are sufficiently concerned about this issue to put their professional reputations behind this clear public statement, shouldn’t the rest of us be at least a little bit worried?

From Unknown Congressman:

I also find myself drawn to provisions that would serve no useful purpose except to insult the industry, like requiring the CEOs, CFOs and the chair of the board of any entity that sells mortgage related securities to the Treasury Department to certify that they have completed an approved course in credit counseling. That is now required of consumers filing bankruptcy to make sure they feel properly humiliated for being head over heels in debt, although most lost control of their finances because of a serious illness in the family. That would just be petty and childish, and completely in character for me. I’m open to other ideas, and I am looking for volunteers who want to hold the sons of bitches so I can beat the crap out of them.

Hiding under the Panic Button or Outright Incapable?

Paulson Panic Under Cover?Treasury Secretary Paulson:
April 2007: “I don’t see (subprime mortgage market troubles) imposing a serious problem. I think it’s going to be largely contained.”

May 2007: So my very strong view is that we are near the bottom and that this will be contained as — the housing will be contained, and we’re fortunate that we have a diverse, healthy economy.

August 2007: Paulson added that he did not see anything that caused him to reconsider his view that the economic damage from the housing correction was “largely contained.”

October 2007: “I have no interest in bailing out lenders or property speculators. I can’t think of any situation where the backdrop of the global economy was as healthy as it is today.”

May 2008: ‘The worst is likely to be behind us,’ Paulson

Sept. 15, Paulson patting himself on the back for refusing to “put taxpayer money on the line”.

Remember the Bush Interior Department appointee to the oil and gas industry caught taking gifts, illicit sex with subordinates, cocaine? To the shock of the Inspector General, the Bush Justice Department has decided that it will take no action.

John Kenneth Galbraith in 1954, the counterpart of Kremlin Walls, “In the autumn of 1929 the mightiest of Americans were, for a brief time, revealed as human beings. Like most humans, most of the time, they did some very foolish things. On the whole, the greater the earlier reputation for omniscience, the more serene the previous idiocy, the greater the foolishness now exposed. Things that in other times were concealed by a heavy façade of dignity now stood exposed, for the panic suddenly, almost obscenely, snatched this façade away.”

“Right-wing politicians sometimes can implement policies that left-wing politicians cannot, and vice versa. Contemporary wisdom has it that ‘only Nixon could have gone to China.’ then Why Only Bush Could Bring Socialism to America.

Corruption is reprehensible: How a gang of right-wing con men destroyed Washington and made a killing.

In return for what?

Everybody lining up at the taxpayer trough!
The Treasury is given the discretion to buy “any other financial instrument” – open to acquiring “any [bum] asset, anywhere in the world.”

Nobody wants to be left out of the Treasury’s proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions.

“The definition of ‘financial institution’ should be as broad as possible,” urges the Financial Services Roundtable.


Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

“In short, the so-called “mother of all bailouts,” which will transfer $700 billion taxpayer dollars to purchase the distressed assets of several failed financial institutions, will be conducted in a manner unchallengeable by courts and ungovernable by Congress.

‘All decision-making power will be consolidated into Bush.’

TIME Magazine: We’re all French now!

…the America that emerges is a cartoonish version of the country most despised by red-meat red-state patriots: France. Only with worse food.

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Admit it, mes amis, the rugged individualism and cutthroat capitalism that made America the land of unlimited opportunity has been shrink-wrapped by a half dozen short sellers in Greenwich, Conn. and FedExed to Washington D.C. to be spoon-fed back to life by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. We’re now no different from any of those Western European semi-socialist welfare states.

Toronto Sun: America’s national motto “borrow to the hilt and bet.”

The traditional regulated banking system was pushed aside by Wall Street’s financial titans who created their own money in the form of complex securities and furiously traded these exotic instruments and borrowed recklessly against them with little government regulation or oversight.

As Kevin Phillips points out in his prophetic book, Bad Money, America’s primary business became non-productive finance. Manufacturing fell to only 12% of GDP. Wall Street titans grew obscenely rich by simply passing around paper. Inflated or semi-worthless securities increased in bogus value at each stage of the trading process.

Wall Street was allowed to virtually print money and peddle toxic securities around the globe because the big financial houses and heads of hedge funds bought the politicians of both parties.

Equally important, the mammoth financial and housing bubble thus created was hailed by the Bush administration as proof positive of Republican free market philosophy and the true road to prosperity.

More cautious European and Canadian bankers were dismissed by Republican chest thumpers as financial sissies.

This Ponzi scheme worked so long as markets kept rising.

It’s uncertain how far damage from America’s financial equivalent of Hurricane Katrina will spread. Hedge funds, money market funds and automakers could be next. Real estate losses may reach $636 billion by 2012.

All stock market gains of the past 10 years have been wiped out in the most dangerous crash since the 1930s.

The “free market” Republican administration has ended up nationalizing nearly $1 trillion worth of businesses, including the federal mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, and global insurer AIG. Welcome to Wall Street socialism.

One thing is now clear. When great empires run onto the financial rocks, their power quickly ebbs. France’s Sun King, Louis XIV, ended his once glorious rein in near bankruptcy caused by his long, ruinous wars with the British and Dutch. Louis XVI’s runaway borrowing to finance the American Revolution helped ignite the French Revolution. The Soviet Union’s collapse was caused by spending half its national income on arms, and failure to modernize industry.

Over the past decade, the U.S. foreign debt doubled. Japan and China now hold 47% of the U.S. foreign debt and finance Washington’s wars. The addition in recent days of at least $1 trillion in new debt will cause interest rates to rise and the dollar to weaken. Even the U.S. government’s AAA credit rating now is in question.

Washington may no longer be able to spend half the globe’s defense budgets.

The $12-13 billion a month wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will end up costing $750 billion by December 2008. There will be less cash in Washington’s kitty to buy foreign dictators and prop up their regimes, as in the Mideast and Central Asia. Less cash to pay for little wars in Africa.

Less for exotic anti-missile systems and death rays.

America’s enormous global power is based as much on its financial might as military muscle. Wall Street has been the vehicle and policeman of America’s hegemony. It shaped the destiny of the globe and made many nations subservient to the demands of New York’s titan bankers. Wall Street is essential to raising capital for business expansion, but often it resembled New York’s ruthless loan sharks: Once you borrowed from them, you never got off the hook.

Americans will have to relearn the hard truth that you can’t borrow your way to prosperity.

Action Of These Enemy

Ladies and Gentlemen. Here are facts people have forgotten or never knew. It’s bad enough John McCain says he’s not involved. It’s far worse he seeks to fix it.

This is a bullet deliberately fired into the economy by men willing to exercise their ideology regardless of the cost to taxpayers.

Men who have every expectation that they can plunder the system again and again, while the public picks up the tab.

John McCain may not have had his finger directly on the trigger, but he was there. He assisted. These were his personal friends and philosophical comrades. He may not be the high priest, but he has been a loyal acolyte in the cult of deregulation.

When taxpayers are left holding the bag for $1 trillion this time around, it’s hard to believe it’s any sort of accident.

This is enemy action.

OK OK Vote Your Wallet

There’s more money for us all when the Democratic Party is in office.

Slate:

Democrats are much better for the stock market than Republicans.

Slate ran the numbers and found that since 1900, Democratic presidents have produced a 12.3 percent annual total return on the S&P 500, but Republicans only an 8 percent return.

Real GDP growth?
Since 1930, GDP growth was 5.4 percent for Democratic presidents and 1.6 percent for Republicans.

Republicans cost us money!


Compare Family Income, Democrat, RepublicanWhich party, Democrat or Republican, puts more money in our pockets? [NYTimes]

Apologize to Republicans

Garrison Keillor:
“Having been called names, one looks back at one’s own angry outbursts over the years, and I recall having once referred to Republicans as “hairy-backed swamp developers, fundamentalist bullies, freelance racists, hobby cops, sweatshop tycoons, line jumpers, marsupial moms and aluminum-siding salesmen, misanthropic frat boys, ninja dittoheads, shrieking midgets, tax cheats, cheese merchants, cat stranglers, pill pushers, nihilists in golf pants, backed-up Baptists, the grand pooh-bahs of Percodan, mouth breathers, testosterone junkies and brownshirts in pinstripes.

“I look at those words now, and “cat stranglers” seems excessive to me. The number of cat stranglers in the ranks of the Republican Party is surely low, and that reference was hurtful to Republicans and to cat owners. I feel sheepish about it.”

Buckle Up

dandelion seed, close upPonder the dandelion seed.

Blows light. Blows far.

Done well, attached to our ship, a dandelion sail at 300 km/sec = 300,000 m/sec = 3.0 x 10^5 m/sec = 1/1,000 the speed of light would take 4,300 years to make it to Alpha Centauri. [wiki]

Not bad.

Sweep ’em up

Finacial system sweeping changeWall Street Journal:

“The federal government, acknowledging the need to take a more comprehensive approach to the financial crisis, is working on a sweeping series of programs that would represent perhaps the biggest intervention in financial markets since the 1930s.

Sweeping. Good choice of words.

Bitch Rant WARN Rant Bitch

McCain rolls a health care proposal peeled from packages in his wallet, ingenious handling, er, regulatory unhandling, that’s toppled our houses, snapped our investment houses and now risks our entire house.

Mike Sunnucks at the Phoenix Business Journal:

The 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act broke down barriers between banks, securities firms, mortgage lenders and insurance companies. That deregulation repealed Great Depression-era bank regulations with the approval of former president Bill Clinton.

The Gramm bill encouraged lending during the strong housing market but has put banks, investment houses and insurance companies in peril since the housing bust which started two years ago. The measure allowed those lending money to sell off those loan portfolios to other companies, thus disconnecting the lending risk.

Arrogance is Free Market tooObese Don’t Need Fat
What’s unsaid is that D.C. took America to a halt. States, cities, counties and towns were hamstrung, disabled, displaced by symbolic scissors and loud reassurance. Well before selling our banks and lenders, we gave away protections and constraints. McCain and Gramm [et al] rolled back strong rules, history’s forts, strong built state and local culture keeping predators stopped.

You must try. Repeat after me. Keeping Predators Stopped.

It’s not the game of nature loosed by Bush or McCain or the Republican free market. It’s game shot dead.

Deregulation we want we won’t see until we regulate our government.

Deregulation is a very wide wide word that has hit America between the eyes. Yes, let’s damn Clinton for it too, and be alert to Rubin if Obama is tied tightly.

Deregulating Social Security is million’s of finance sector commissions so large it could spurt stocks higher than Wall Street Viagra.

Deregulating Health Care, a credit card for every heart attack, nudes state and local rules enough to get an old man out of bed.

Precisely.

pssst. It is not well known that a Victoria’s Secret catalog was responsible for a key aspect of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

Moyers with Kevin Phillips

We’ve let this Las Vegas version of what used to be ordinary banks in our ordinary hometowns go berserk.

BILL MOYERS: So who do you trust anymore? I mean, you write in your book that the most worrisome thing is the extent of official understatement and misstatement, the preference for minimizing how many problems there are and how interconnected they are.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Did Bush Steal the election?Well, just to give you an example of how many there are, Alan Greenspan has finally decided to admit, you know, this may be one of those once-a-century biggies. Well, what makes it fascinating is that I sometimes use the description “seven sharks.” There are seven sharks in the tank with the economy.

And the first is financialization because we’re so dependent on this industry that’s sort of half lost its marbles. The second is that you have this huge buildup of debt, absolutely unprecedented anywhere in the world. The third is you’ve now got home prices collapsing. The fourth is you’ve got global commodity inflation building up.

The fifth is you’ve got flawed and deceptive government economics statistics. The sixth is that you’ve got what they call peak oil where the world is, to some extent, running out of oil. So it’s not just commodity inflation, it’s a shortage of oil. And then the last thing is the collapsing dollar. Now, whenever you get this sort of package in one decade, you got a big one. And when Greenspan says it’s a once a century, I think it’s another variation but on a par with the Thirties.

BILL MOYERS: What do you think when you hear John McCain and Secretary Paulson say that the fundamentals, however, are solid?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, John McCain once said he didn’t know anything about economics. And half the time what he says, you know, proves that on a day-by-day basis.


BILL MOYERS: So we at least finally have an election about something, don’t we? I mean, with the Fed and the economy at the heart of the debate now?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: The people who have the connections with the lobbies and the big donors have absolutely no problem with all these bailouts and rescues. But they don’t dare admit it because who’s rescuing the laid off worker? Nobody’s rescuing them. The fact that the Democrats don’t want to talk about what they’re going to do if they get the chance, that’s dishonesty. But the Republican Party is thoroughly dishonest in the same way.

Already Main Street

The only rule left standing was ‘anything goes’. – Bob Schieffer, CBS Face The Nation

Some think privileged. True. Two per cent and two percent of that. Some see a casino. True. A thief is first to know the odds. Most see humanity lost in avarice. Of course. This is why we govern. What folly said leave us to our nature?

We fix it at home, America. Soonest, of all times, now, bring sustenance and prosperity home. Bring honor. The true hill is never Washington.

Cleaning Dirt

The world’s largest fertilizer companies face two lawsuits in Minnesota and Chicago for price-fixing and conspiracy. more…

* Mosaic of Plymouth, Minnesota, USA,
* Agrium of Calgary, Alberta, Canada,
* Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., Canada,
* JSC Uralkali of Moscow, Russia;
* RUE PA Belaruskali, of Soligorsk, Belarus,
* RUE PA Belarusian Potash Co. of Minsk, Belarus,
* JSC Silvinit of Solikamsk, Russia, and
* JSC International Potash Co. of Moscow, Russia.

In several countries, obscure laws shield makers of potash and phosphate — two key ingredients in fertilizer — from certain antitrust rules.

In the US, for example, phosphate makers are among a handful of industries empowered by the 1918 Webb-Pomerene Act to talk with competitors about pricing and other issues.

The allegations come as the fertilizer companies have profited from the global grain-price boom of the past two years.

Price rocketed sky high

The price of phosphate has climbed to about $1,100 a ton, up from $430 last year.

Mammals won for 2 reasons

A deep undercurrent of Robert Paterson’s Prince Edward Island blog, looking beneath the surface, has been how difficult it is for a conventional organization to adopt a 2.0 world. As if to say, the ‘intermodal multinodal cybernetic society’ has a very long way to go.

The entrenched habits of control, centralization and top down could not be shifted. No amount of appeals, about the power of a 2.0 world, more speed, better information, better conection inside and outside the enterprise, landed with the change.

I think we all underestimated the height and the steepness of the slope of the “landscape” that had to be crossed to go into the next “valley” of the 2.0 world.

Peaks and Valleys of Progress and Fitness

Systems remain stable for a long time – so long as the key environment to support them exists. For real change to occur, you have to get out of the “valley”, over the mountain and into the next valley. So the dinosaurs ruled for millions of years, while the more adaptive mammals lurked in the shadows waiting the moment when the environment would change and set them free.

So until last week, it was still possible for organizations to chug along with a 1.0 perspective. For its key environmental factor, cheap and easy credit and access to capital was still in place.

Well dear readers – this is no longer the case. The asteroid has hit the worlds financial markets and the dinosaurs will die. Large cumbersome beings that need a lot of capital and credit and who cannot adapt quickly will die.

Credit and assets based on cheap credit are simply evaporating. So is the “photosynthesis” process of capital and credit creation. Investment banking and conventional banking is in the process of losing its own capital base. Even the credit of the US itself will be tested to the limit in the ensuing months.

What we are experiencing is not a normal correction but the equivalent of an asteroid strike.

Robert warns, “It will get worse” and offers thoughtful advice along the way: 2.0 world will emerge from the ashes of the Financial Capital World.

Network from matrix
And matrix from node,
To coin a modern ode.

McCain IS Your Heart Attack

Slate. Strong words in two pages display the McCain Health Care proposal as a hidden gift to his corporate friends.

If enacted, this proposal would cause a shift along the lines seen in the credit-card industry.

What makes no sense is to neuter state regulations while putting nothing in their place.

Letting South Dakota regulate America’s credit-card industry hasn’t worked out so well. Letting Arizona do the same for health insurance would be worse.

Hidden gift? We know what that is.

There’s no quid pro quo here

Bush has not one achievement.

Paul Krugman looks over his trillion dollar bailout plan and says, “No deal”.

I hate to say this, but looking at the plan as leaked, I have to say no deal. Not unless Treasury explains, very clearly, why this is supposed to work, other than through having taxpayers pay premium prices for lousy assets.

No quid pro quo. Sums up an era, don’t you think? Privatized profits. Socialized losses. “But we ain’t no Communists!” say our rouge cou.

For Why Is Wealth?

PoleRouter, first polar flightNo man or woman once impressed me with a Rolex or a Cadillac nor appeased me with a little white dog. Better status is on my mind. I think of putting greens beside the patio and I am sad, not for their happiness, but for yours.

Where did it begin, false pride? With you I’m sorry to say. Choose any Century. Fools and gold are always much too much for any civilization.

A PoleRouter had always the status of a high-quality luxurious watch. In the late 1950’s a steel PoleRouter cost as much as a Rolex Explorer. An 18k PoleRouter with a gold bracelet had nearly the price of a car.

We have worked so hard. Navigators, engineers, day upon day. So proud and good. Of course a gilt wrist proves it. But only for you.

The greater pride is living here well. Wear that. Impress me.

Poem For A Crash

THE POLITIC OF HOPE

NOT HEEDED?
NOT NEEDED?

THE GAMES AND THE GEMS,
THE
GIZMOS AND THE GADGETS,
THE
GARMENT AND THE GLAMOR,
STILL FLOOD OUR GARDEN.
ALL IS WELL.


THEN WHY?

Why is the public forum quite convinced?
The quorum forms, is seldom minced,
The crush of cash and goods exchanges.
The manual’s writ, to wit, law rearranges
the how, the what, the when of cost.
This must be spent or all is lost!

We ask:
Epic yesterday, is it flawed,
resting on our shoulders?
Each and all of us is awed!

The Task:
Both formers and molders,
both material and number,
both conduit and by-way,
both vitality and slumber,
both you and I, we and they,

ALL MUST CHOOSE.
ALL MUST MUSE.
ALL MUST USE.
GRAPH THE CHART,
STOCK THE PART,
DREAM THE ART,
PULL THE CART,
PAY THE PRICE,
CARVE THE ICE,
SHOO THE MICE,
ATTRACT THE NICE.
IT’S UP TO YOU AND ME
IN THIS DEMOCRACY.

Where do we go?
And who will say so?
Is this what we’re waiting for
To open future’s door?

TRY:
WHAT PLENTY HAVE WE PLANNED?
WHAT RISK AHEAD IS MANNED?
WHAT SURE AVENUE, WHAT LAND?
WHAT MAINTAINED, WHAT SCANNED
TO BE USED,
NOT ABUSED?

Projections list what is not sure.
Archives inventory what is no more.
Accounts know what just went by;
Tax measures that decree, no lie!
O’ order, do not bend.
Our use-abuse will surely mend.
We try always, watchful, wary.
We know the time. We do not tarry.
We as people strive in honor.
Oh there’s slight, or greed, or con, or…
These are only sides of nature,
Things that color, shade the slate, or
Absolve in partnership with fate and maker.
We praise the giver not the taker!
In all this social beast
a person needs bread and yeast
to rise and fill,
surmise and frill,
balance a price
get a slice.
This is enough to say.
See this balmy day?
Instead,
no dread.
Aren’t we fed?
Aren’t we ahead?
Isn’t it said
It all works out in time?
Don’t tease me. All is fine.
You have yours. I have mine.
What more? Don’t threat of less.
We’re strong enough to face this mess.
What’s that you say?
Another shortage play?
An increase to pay?
Listen. I have too much to do today.
Go away.

OH, CITIZEN, IT IS NOT BUT DUTY WON.
NOT STRUGGLE BUT JOB WELL DONE
TO STRIVE THE DEPTH, TO SEE, TO KNOW;
TO PROVE ADEPT, TO PLAN, TO SHOW;
PROVIDE THE NEED,
SHUN THE GREED,
ASSURE WE’RE FREED.
HERE, I PLEAD
EACH HOLD A KEY,
A PART TO GUARANTEE
OUR GREAT LIBERTY.
NEVER LET IT BE SAID
WE ARE SUCCUMBED BY DREAD.
SPEAK, “DON’T TREAD!”
SHRIEK, “I’M LED
BY LIBERTY’S FORUM,
OUR PEOPLE’S QUORUM!
REASON IS OUR DAY!
JUSTICE IS OUR WAY,
WHISTLES ON THE EAGLE’S WING.
THIS IS WHAT WE DREAM AND SING!”

Then of all we’ve seen or ever knew
It rests on what we say and do,
Regardless the state of style,
The yard of cloth, the mile of smile,
Principal without remorse.
Vision is our course.

Face the trouble!
Burst the bubble!
Dissolve our pain.
Achieve our gain.

EACH CAN REACH,
SO REACH TO EACH,
THE BEST RESTITUTION
FOR ANY INSTITUTION.

NETWORK FROM MATRIX,
MATRIX FROM NODE,
TO COIN A MODERN ODE.
NURTURE YOUR CLAN.

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, IF YOU CAN.

Take Our Money

Which Party makes us money?

David G. Klein, NY Times, Whish Party Makes us money?
1. FRoosevelt: 267.2% increase.
2. Clinton: 118.1% increase.
3. Coolidge: 110.4% increase
4. Eisenhower: 68.7% increase
5. Bush (Sr.): 44.1% increase.
6. Reagan: 26.4% increase.
7. Johnson: 22.4% increase.
8. TRoosevelt: 18.1% increase.
9. Wilson: 15.1% increase.
10. Truman: 11.4% increase.
11. Nixon: 9.7% increase.
12. Carter: 0.2% increase.
13. GWBush: 0.5% decrease
before market crisis!
14. Taft: 1.5% decrease.
15. Hoover: 83.5% decrease.

Kennedy, up 12.5% in two years and ten months.

The debt ceiling will be over $11 trillion by the time Bush leaves office.

Republicans cost us money!


Compare Family Income, Democrat, RepublicanWhich party, Democrat or Republican, puts more money in our pockets? [NYTimes]

Simply put, the United States economy has grown faster, on average, under Democratic presidents than under Republicans.

Say it nicely:

“There is a large historical gap in economic performance between the two parties.”

Vote cruel.

Wash Her Mouth With Soap

ABC News, Doubts Palin TroopergateABC News Exclusive Dirty Detail

“An internal government document obtained by ABC News appears to contradict Sarah Palin’s most recent explanation for why she fired her public safety chief Walt Monegan, the move which prompted the now-contested state probe into ‘Troopergate’.”

ABC News Photo Illustration

Troopergate: Public Safety Commissioner Monegan traveling to Washington for $10 million for Alaska Rape Prevention – more rape than any State in the Union.

Troopergate: Her governor’s staff OK’d his flight.

Troopergate: In Sarah Palin’s legal filing, she fired Monegan because he had a “rogue mentality” and was bucking her administration’s directives.

Witnesses who refuse to testify can be found in contempt under Alaska law. But the full Legislature must be in session, which won’t happen until January. McCain sent a team of operatives to Alaska to “carefully coordinate” any information that’s released.


Troopergate
: Walt Monegan refuses to go along with her personal vendetta.

America!
Stay outta her kitchen!

More Than Preoccupied

You don’t need to go here, a NYTimes book review. I clicked because the title drew me.

The Best Mind of His Generation

The moods that Mr. Wallace distilled so vividly on the page — the gradations of sadness and madness embedded in the obsessive, recursive, exhausting prose style that characterized both his journalism and his fiction — crystallized an unhappy collective consciousness. And it came through most vividly in his voice. Hyperarticulate, plaintive, self-mocking, diffident, overbearing, needy, ironical, almost pathologically self-aware (and nearly impossible to quote in increments smaller than a thousand words) — it was something you instantly recognized even hearing it for the first time. It was — is — the voice in your own head.

smartness — wide erudition, mastery of trivia, rhetorical facility, love of argument for its own sake — could leave you feeling empty, baffled and dumb.

Me, at any rate.