Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Great moments in the annals of utter stupidity

And what else could I be talking about but our corporate media?

Having been cured of Irrational Bush Hatred Disorder through the magic of modern chemistry, I stopped reading all those vicious far-left hate sites like Daily Kos and the BBC and tuned in to the ABC nightly news. That's the patriotic network, unlike communistic CBS that slandered Dear Leader by calling him a draft dodger, when we all know that he volunteered to serve in Vietnam and received repeated awards for valor, unlike that draft-dodging John Kerry.

Anyway, ABC knows what news is important. The lead story -- and it was truly exciting -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average set an all time record high! They had a whole bunch of interviews with people -- I don't know who, just some people -- who told us how this proves the awesome power of the U.S. economy, and everybody in town was gonna join their investment club now, and we're all getting rich. There was some boring economist guy who said it's because the Dow stocks are mostly multinational corporations and business is booming in Europe and Asia, but we know the first guy was right.

It's a good thing they don't listen to far left haters like me, even ones in recovery, because this is what I would have said if I'd been one of those man in the street types. The Dow is supposed to set a new record every day. That's why people buy stocks -- because they expect them to be worth more in the future than they are now. I mean, I set a new all time record today: I'm older than I've ever been. Ditto for the universe, and Charles Gibson (who was off last night, I didn't catch the name of his replacement elocutionist). But in fact, the Dow did not set an all time record because it isn't adjusted for inflation. The Dow stocks are not worth the most today they have ever been, not by a whole lot. They are worth 20% less than they were at their peak back in 2000, adjusting for inflation.

Not only that, but the other, broader indices are down even in nominal dollars. In other words, since George W. Bush has been president, stocks have been a lousy investment. You would have been much better off keeping your money in a savings account. Actually, you would have been better off keeping it under a mattress, unless you happened to get lucky and pick the right stocks. But hey, it's a record!

So what's the next big story of the day? Treason! Espionage! A grave threat to our national security! A contract employee of the Department of Energy tried to sell uranium enrichment technology to a foreign power! A sober think tank expert came on to someberly intone that this is precisely the kind of technology that America's enemies want to obtain. Yes, we are besieged on all sides by terrorists and traitors. Only resolute leadership and suspension of civil liberties can save us from nucular armageddon.

So what happened exactly? It seems a construction laborer or maybe a janitor working to clean up an abandoned nuclear plant tried to sell some scrap machinery to -- drumroll please -- the French embassy. The French embassy. He also offered to sell them the secrets to making wine, soft cheese, sourdough bread, and onion soup. They were considering taking the deal if he'd throw in one of those flat floppy hats and some moustache wax, but then they realized that they already had sufficient uranium enrichment capacity to support their extensive nuclear power program and the nuclear warheads on their land- and submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and long-range bomber fleet, so they passed.

But, they definitely are enemies of America, I learned that from Fox News.

By now, there wasn't much time left for the other important stories of the day. Well, there really weren't any. So I switched to the poker tournament.

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