Officially the liquidation at the store above is due to retirement, not bankruptcy, but in the grand scheme it hardly matters — this is the current disease of the age, and you can see signs like this all over the commercial districts in the Pointes. The fact this store is the prime purveyor of the sort of pink-and-green, Lilly Pulitzer, whale-print-pants prep attire that still flies around here just gives it a certain fin de siécle feel.
Kate had a new friend over after school yesterday, and I thought just this once I’d be Florence Henderson and pick up some fancy Valentine cupcakes for their snack. The bakery on my errands route didn’t survive the winter, apparently, and had the FOR LEASE of death in the window. I try not to read too much into these things — even in good times, all small business is a matter of hanging from a ledge by one’s fingernails, and it doesn’t take much to knock loose, but still. In the past, the storefront would be filled by another hopeful entrepreneur within a few weeks. Today, I’m sure it will be months before it’s filled. If it’s filled.
Well, whenever it’s filled, we know Judd Gregg won’t be commerce secretary. I’m trying to figure out how it’s possible that a man nominated a week ago could somehow be unaware his boss was planning a big spending bill that would conflict with his deeply held principles, and I’ve decided it’s impossible. I don’t want to be paranoid, but it’s 1992 all over again, and it’s increasingly clear that for the GOP, nothing but catastrophe will do. They are like the mother who told King Solomon go ahead, cut the kid in half, only the kid is the country. It’s time for Obama to pull up his socks and set to work grinding these folks into the soil, then sowing the soil with salt and maybe irradiating it for good measure. You extend the hand of bipartisanship, and they bite it. OK. Hold up the bleeding hand, say, see what I’m dealing with here? and then pull the choke chain as tight as you can. They understand little else.
I’ve often wondered, since this crisis began, how smart some of my comrades are. Keeping up with what’s happening in the financial industry takes a lot of attention and a willingness to familiarize oneself with some fairly baroque economic concepts. I freely admit I still don’t understand it; it’s like when a computational cosmologist spoke to my fellowship class at Michigan and tried to get us to understand just how big the universe is. I could only grasp it in fleeting glimpses, but I think I got the gist. And this is a pretty frightening state of affairs. “Total economic collapse” is something I hope to never live through, but if so, I hope others will be trying to understand it, too. Since last fall, I’ve heard people I’d always thought had a brain between their ears describe what was happening as though it was the 1987 stock-market reversal, or the dot-com bubble. Laissez-faire, laissez-faire, they preach; all will be well.
Well. I live in a cold climate, and I don’t want to spend next winter rooting for grubs in the back yard while trading shifts in the sniper’s nest with Alan. I want everyone in Washington focused and on task, or I want to know the reason why, and whining about the census doesn’t count as a reason.
No bloggage today. I have to jump in the shower and scrub up for a full day of economic activity. Have a good weekend and remember: If winter comes, can spring be far behind?