I can't TAKE it anymore

Seriously. I'm with Andrew on this one.

One reason I find this debate hard to enter decisively is because I don't know what the solution is. I do not have the expertise to figure out what mix of spending and tax-cutting is the best tailored to this particular down-turn, how much stimulus is required, how much would be too much, how much too little. Usually, in policy debates, I try to ask myself what my ideal might be and then figure out why that can't work, and come to some kind of conclusion. But on this, I don't know where to start.
I really, really don't know what will work best. I would like to see a large portion of the spending go to the states, which I have already said. But I don't know what the best solution is, and so it's hard to comment.

On that note, I am going to comment on something I consider to be picayune and inane in the extreme. I refer, of course, to the brouhaha surrounding Michael Phelps and the bong. I feel 100% comfortable sharing my opinions about this issue, and it's a nice break from furrowing my brow every time Megan McArdle posts something new.

Here's the deal. Do I think it makes any sense for a person to earn $100 million for being able to swim really fast? No. Frankly, I don't think it makes sense for anyone to make $100 million doing anything. But it's a free country, and that's what companies are apparently willing to cumulatively pay him to say nice things about their products. On that note, is it monumentally stupid for him to smoke weed, knowing that his real cachet at this point is his reputation, rather than his swimming talent? Sure.

But can we all please remind ourselves that the man is 23 years old, and probably spent most of his adolescence subsuming his baser drives in his pursuit of athletic excellence? He broke a law that, frankly, I think is kind of prudish. (Yes, that means I support legalizing marijuana.) He did it at a venue when he did not expect attention. I've never understood why we look to athletes to be role models, and honor them as heroes in a way we don't with any other members of the entertainment industry. (People who do not consider athletes to be part of the entertainment industry are free to convince me.) That Phelps is flawed, and made a bad decision, really doesn't matter to me, and I wonder why people got so very bent out of shape about it.

It reminds me of Charles Barkley, and his "I Am Not a Role Model" shtick. What's more, I think it was really nice of him to go to such lengths to personally prove it.

Update: Boy, that was one expensive smoke-up for Michael.


  1. Something to think about.

    Ben & Jerry have created "Yes Pecan!" ice cream flavor for Obama.

    They asked for suggestions from the public for flavors to commemorate George. Here are some of their favorite responses:
    - Grape Depression
    - The Housing Crunch
    - Abu Grape
    - Cluster Fudge
    - Nut'n Accomplished
    - Good Riddance You Lousy Motherfucker... Swirl
    - Iraqi Road
    - Chock 'n Awe
    - WireTapioca
    - Impeach Cobbler
    - Guantanamallow
    - imPeachmint
    - Heck of a Job, Brownie!
    - NeoconaPolitan
    - RockyRoad to Fascism
    - The Reese's-cession
    - Cookie D'oh!
    - Nougalar Proliferation
    - Death by Chocolate... and Torture
    - Chocolate Chip On My Shoulder
    - Credit Crunch
    - Mission Pecanplished
    - WMDeelicious
    - Chocolate Chimp
    - Bloody Sundae
    - Caramel Preemptive Stripe
    - Country Pumpkin

  2. I... see. Thank you for an interesting take on athlete worship.