Last night a freak phenomenon involving a hair-dryer, a luminous watch dial and some rancid milk catapulted me temporarily into a parallel universe where there was no Rafaella Marconi controversy.  The television was on but seemed to be stuck in to be in some state of quantum shuttling across channels and time periods.  This is what I saw:

 

Mark Penn:  It grieves me to resign as senior strategist of the Clinton campaign.  However, I just can’t go on.  It got to the point where I couldn’t sleep at night.  It was just eating me up.  How could we have done it?  How could my company have accepted an award for making Ahmed Chalabi credible?  The citation even said: “Of particular importance was positioning INC founder Dr. Ahmad Chalabi and other Iraqi opposition spokespeople as authoritative political leaders.”  Positioning?  What use is that to anyone? [chokes back tears] How can you live with yourself when that is what you do for a living?  I am going to take some time off and take a long hard look at myself.

 

….

 

Senator Leahy:  Attorney General Mukasey, I get the distinct impression that you are being, let’s say, somewhat evasive in your answers.

AG Mukasey:  That’s what I’m here for.

Senator Leahy:  I see.  Well, let me make a suggestion, “repugnant” though you may find it.  How about we waterboard you a bit here in the chamber and see if we can get a little more cooperation from you?

AG Mukasey:  I believe, given that I have prevaricated as to whether this “waterboarding” practice constitutes torture or is illegal and have implied that it may be an effective, though repugnant interrogation tool, it would be laughably hypocritical of me to refuse.

Senator Leahy:  Bring in the towels and the buckets!

 

….

 

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson:  We have tried to treat you Wall Street people like adults and what have you done?  In the 1980’s you gave us the Savings & Loan collapse and junk bonds and we had to bail you out.  In 1998 Long-Term Capital management imploded and we had to foot the bill.  And then you opened this century with Enron, Tyco, dot.com, and now the exploding mortgages.  It’s like a financial nail bomb.  You people are not to be trusted.  Effective immediately we are reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act to stop the banks from playing with risky so-called securities and running down hills with scissors again and again.  You cannot be trusted to work without adult supervision and we will not continue to print money for you.

 

At this point the phone rang, courtesy of the telemarketers from Porlock, and I returned to this flat, predictable universe and its glamorous Italian right-wingers who may or may not exist.

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