The best Mercury retrograde ever!

On my way downtown this morning, my car was struck by (I’m sure you’ll all appreciate the irony) a Comcast truck at Rittenhouse Square. Of course, the guy jumps out of the car and starts yelling at me that I hit him. “No dice, pal. I was in my lane and you hit me,” I said. I pointed to the white paint marks on the very last part of my rear fender.

“Oh yeah? I have paint on my car, too!” he says. “I was trying not to hit that guy who had his head hanging out of his car…”

“And you didn’t see me because you were distracted,” I said. But as I bend down and rub the damage, I see that it’s all paint and I can take care of it with a little rubbing compound. So I tell him to drive more carefully, and get back in the car.

I end up in the emergency room of the hospital where my doctor has privileges. I have to say, it was a pit. And the parking lot was two blocks away from the ER, on the other side of the midtown expressway. I had to limp my way there.

I wasn’t real happy. First of all, they have the acutely ill people in the same room; one woman said she’d had the flu for three days and was hacking up a storm. Second, they didn’t seem to think that checking me for a blood clot was much of a priority, so why should I? After waiting four hours, I took off the hospital wristband and gave it back to the registration clerk, telling her to tear up my paperwork because I was leaving.

I limped back to the parking lot, got in my car and drove back to the same hospital where I had my surgery. When I got there, there were about 30 people in the emergency room, so I got back in my car and came home. I’m pretty sure it was the acupuncture; I don’t have any of the usual blood clot signs like swelling, hot spots on my skin or discoloration. It just feels like my foot fell asleep and hasn’t woken up yet, and it hurts when I walk.

If you leave me now

Back when they were still the Chicago Transit Authority, one of my high school friends was their groupie and flew around the country on the weekends. Ah, the 60s! Chicago:

Ugh

Went to the acupuncturist yesterday for a bunch of stuff: rotator cuff, sinus headache, etc. I think this was the first time I ever had needles in my knees, and about an hour later, my left leg began to hurt -as if all the muscles and ligaments in my leg were pulling really tight, and pins and needles in my foot. It got so bad, I was actually limping.

Since I just did not want to go to the emergency room AGAIN, I went to sleep, hoping I would wake up and whatever it was would resolve itself. It did not. I called my doctor, she said the needles probably irritated a nerve, “but just to be on the safe side, I want you to go to the ER and get an ultrasound of your leg.”

I have since read a lot of stuff about nerve pain after acupuncture (quite a surprise to me, since I’ve never even heard of it before) and found that yes, it does happen.

But I guess I have to go to the ER anyway. This is not how I planned to spend my Saturday. Happy fucking Mercury retrograde!

Why mass unemployment is okay with those in the bubble

Jonathan Chait:

In the years since the collapse of 2008, the existence of mass unemployment has stopped being something the economic powers that be even pretend to regard as a crisis. To those directly impacted, the economic crisis is an emergency, a life-altering disaster the damage from which will endure for years. But most of those in a position to address it simply have not seen it in such terms. History will record that the economic elite has viewed the economic crisis from a perspective of detached complacency.

Two events from the last week have underscored this disturbing reality. The most widely covered was the Federal Reserve’s announcement that, despite a weakening economy, it still would not take steps to stimulate growth. The Fed may not like mass unemployment, but it dislikes inflation even more, and in its calculus, the hypothetical prospect of the latter outweighs the immediate reality of the former.

Here’s a second case, smaller but even more telling. The Obama administration has tried to prevail upon Edward DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to offer lower mortgage rates to underwater home owners through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which he controls. What interests me is not the proposal itself, nor even DeMarco’s obstinate refusal, but an editorial in the Washington Post applauding DeMarco for refusing to implement the program.

The Post is the voice of the Washington centrist establishment, and the logic of the editorial is a telling signpost. The Obama administration had argued to DeMarco that the mortgage relief was a pure win-win. Not only would the lower mortgage rates provide relief to Americans desperate to keep their homes, and secondarily to give them more purchasing power for other things that would provide a small economic stimulus, it would save the government money: with lower mortgage rates, fewer would default on their government-owned mortgages. DeMarco replied that he believed the taxpayers would end up spending money on the deal: not much, but some.

The Post’s thumbs-up editorial of DeMarco endorsed the reasoning that only a relief program that could be assured to cost the taxpayers nothing was worthwhile. It concluded, “with signs multiplying that the housing market may be finally bottoming out without this additional stimulus, perpetuating this particular battle does not strike us as the best use of the secretary’s time.”
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