Archive for March, 2009

Keep Calm and Carry On?

March 22, 2009

The Guardian tells us that a WWII poster saying “Keep Calm and Carry On” has become very popular in Britain.  It had been virtually unknown beforehand, as it was only supposed to be distributed in the event of a German invasion.

Is it a good sign that Britain is now looking back to its time of greatest peril for inspiration?  What’s the alternative to keeping calm and carrying on?

In Flaming Carrot Comics, “The Wild Shall Wild Remain”, when the Carrot’s hometown is taken over by Communists, the Deputy Mayor says “We must, by all means, avoid panic!”  The Carrot replies (dots in original):

“Phooey!  Look! … If you sit down on the stove and is red-hot you feel alarm! … Get up fast! … This is panic!

Panic is good! … When you sit there you burn your ass!  Why do you want the ass to melt?  Are you foolish?”

Bela Khamarian, the “Soviet James Bond”, then reveals that the Deputy Mayor is a Commie agent and kills him, resolving the argument.

Echoes of rhetoric

March 6, 2009

Compare and contrast these statements from Obama and Lincoln.  First, Obama on healthcare Thursday:

“If there is a way of getting this done where we’re driving down costs and people are getting health insurance at an affordable rate and have choice of doctor, have flexibility in terms of their plans, and we could do that entirely through the market, I’d be happy to do it that way. If there was a way of doing it that involved more government regulation and involvement, I’m happy to do it that way as well.”

Second, Lincoln on slavery, excerpted from his letter to Horace Greeley:

“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

It seems that Obama is deliberately echoing Lincoln here, presumably as they both wanted to show a combination of pragmatism and resolve.  Of course (spoiler alert!) the Union was saved and all the slaves were eventually freed, but not until after Lincoln let some alone for quite a while.

To Nationalize or Not?

March 1, 2009

A loyal reader asks me whether we should nationalize the banks or not.  I am reminded of a joke that was said to be popular in Poland at the time of Solidarity (from rec.humor.funny)

A man goes into the Bank of Gdansk to make a deposit. Since he has never kept money in a bank before, he is a little nervous.

“What happens if the Bank of Gdansk should fail?” he asks.

“Well, in that case your money would be insured by the Bank of Warsaw.”

“But, what if the Bank of Warsaw fails?”

“Well, there’d be no problem, because the Bank of Warsaw is insured by the National Bank of Poland.”

“And if the National Bank of Poland fails?”

“Then your money would be insured by the Bank of Moscow.”

“And what if the Bank of Moscow fails?”

“Then your money would be insured by the Great Bank of the Soviet Union.”

“And if that bank fails?”

“Well, in that case, you’d lose all your money. But, wouldn’t it be worth it?”

We have lost all our money, but it seems not to be worth it.  Let’s at least put the shareholders and executives out of their misery, nationalize, and start over.