September 26, 2008

The letdown and the meltdown

Ithaca today, courtesy of wikipedia.

Have you ever wanted something badly for a long time only to be let down when you get it? That's what happened to Odysseus who for twenty years has longed for nothing so much as to see his home in Ithaca.

And when the voyage home finally happens, he totally missed it. The Phaeacians who have hosted the hero take him home on one of their swift sailing ships laden with gifts. During the journey,

an irresistible sleep fell deeply on his eyes, the sweetest,
soundest oblivion, still as the sleep of death itself.

He's still asleep when they land. The Phaeacians carry him and his gifts off the ship and leave without waking them. When he finally wakes up, he doesn't know where he is. In despair, he cried out as he did before:

"Man of misery, whose land have I lit on now?
What are they here--violent, savage, lawless?
or friendly to strangers, god-fearing men?"

As Jonathan Shay has noted, it's not uncommon for veterans returning from combat to have trouble recognizing the place they left behind. And for many, as for Odysseus, some of the worst problems occur when than finally get there.

BACK TO THE BAILOUT. El Cabrero and amigos from WV Citizen Action Group, the state AFL-CIO and Direct Action Welfare Group held a press conference yesterday about the Wall Street bailout proposal. We called for greater regulation of the finance industry, limits on CEO pay for companies getting corporate welfare, an equity share for American taxpayers, help for people dealing with foreclosure, and a stimulus package targeted at those who need it most.

This was part of a series of events all around the country calling for the same things. Here's CNN coverage of national efforts.

It now looks like a deal almost reached in Congress went up in smoke.

ON TOPIC, here economist Dean Baker's latest piece on the bailout and here's Paul Krugman's column on the need for grownups.

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH, here's a snapshot from the Economic Policy Institute about unemployment trends across the states.

URGENT DINOSAUR UPDATE. The latest discovery is the smallest American dinosaur, which was chicken sized. This means the chickens on Goat Rope Farm are dinosaur sized.


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