Is This The Big One? (And Other Friday Notes)

Growing up in southern California, the first shake of every little tremor prompted the instant thought: “Is this the Big One?”  Hard to say; we had some pretty big ones (Sylmar in 1971, Loma Prieta in 1989, Northridge in 1994, Paso Robles in 2003), but seismologists say that the “Big One” still hasn’t happened yet, at least in theory.

And so we’re left to wonder this morning whether the increasingly acute debt crisis in Europe, and our tentative steps to avoid the same here, has delivered us to the “Big One” in the global financial system that folks have been warning about for a long time.  The economists surrounding me at AEI who tolerate my endless musings on political philosophy have been warning for more than a year now that another banking crisis was sure to come, probably out of Europe, and that it could be worse than 2008.  Batten down the hatches.  Unfortunately I’m at the airport (again) today, about to board a plane across the country, so I’ll miss the jobs report at 8:30 am Eastern.  If it is bad, expect the panic in Washington (at least the White House) to match the panic on Wall Street.

Meanwhile, I note that Jerry Lewis has announced that he won’t participate in the annual Labor Day weekend muscular dystrophy telethon, for the first time in 45 years.  I’ve been wondering about how he might respond to the new competition—Al Gore’s “24 Hours of Reality” climate change telethon scheduled for later in September.  Jerry’s Kids always deserved our sympathy and support; their affliction wasn’t their fault.  Al’s Kids have no such excuse, and will only add to their reputation as losers.

Finally, having to put up with the cruise ship smoke-signal Internet last week meant that I forgot to flag for Power Line readers my latest offering in The Weekly Standard, a takedown of the New York Times astoundingly bad series on natural gas.  My favorite part of this exercise was the headline, which I thought up myself and the Standard kept for a change: New York Times Passes Gas, Calls It ‘News.’”


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