UPDATE (16 October 2012): Cards for the Town Hall edition of Presidential Debate Bingo are now up.

Let’s hope both candidates show up this time.

Here are the bingo cards for the third quadrennial edition of Presidential Debate Bingo.

If you’re holding card 5, note that “Jim, Wall Street can afford it” would get you most of the way to Bingo.

This Thursday, Nashville votes whether to prohibit public business from being conducted in any language other than English.

In an impassioned speech, Councilman Eric Crafton contends that newcomers to foreign lands must learn the local language. Strangely, this sentiment was not expressed in Cherokee, Iroquois, or Choctaw! Exhibiting his penchant for irony, Crafton delivered the speech in a recently adulterated dialect of the imperialist powers that, for effect, I adopt in this blog post.

Crafton, fresh off a three year crusade affirming Jesus Christ legislatively, is still not content wasting his time in Metro Council on such mundane issues as schools or zoning.

But there’s a positive side to this bill if it passes. If English is to be mandated, every time Crafton begins a sentence with “If I was” he can be held in contempt, and required to attend a lecture on subjunctive mood.

Last weekend, Nashville ran out of gas. This was not because of significant shortages, but because of a belief that there were significant shortages. So, people rushed to get gas. And we ran out.

This is a demonstration of sunspot equilibria, one of the items on my still- incomplete list of the five useful things I learned in macroeconomics. What if people believed that sunspots cause the populace to turn into violent beasts who, behind their smiles, “good morning”s, and “bless your heart”s, secretly plot our demise; they appear to act normal in every way but wait for their chance to attack us. In what Charles Gibson incorrectly labeled the “Bush Doctrine,” we may all contemplate preemptive self-defense by attacking first. Then, of course, sunspots did cause the populace to turn violent.

A feature of these self-fulfilling prophecies is that there are multiple equilibria; usually one very good one where we expect calm and act calmly, and another very bad one where we expect the worst and, by our reaction to it, cause it.

One simple role of government is to help coordinate the populace on the better outcome. Neither our local Nashville government, nor our presidential candidates, seem to grasp that.

Compare:

New York Times on single-father Biden being sworn in as Senator days after losing his wife:
“After taking office, he refused to move to Washington and commuted daily from Wilmington to help bring up his sons … The Washington-to-Wilmington train run has since become a leitmotif of Mr. Biden’s devotion to family. [June 10, 1987]

New York Times on husbanded Sarah Palin running for Vice President:
“Ms. Palin has set off a fierce argument among women about whether there are enough hours in the day for her to take on the vice presidency, and whether she is right to try.” [September 1, 2008]

CNN on a civilian contractor choosing to go to Iraq:
“Too old at 34 to start over as a soldier, becoming a contractor is a way for Masonry to fulfill his sense of duty… Masonry is a father of three, his youngest with Down’s Syndrome.”[April 26, 2004]

CNN on Sarah Palin’s choice to run:
“Children with Down’s syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?” [August 29, 2008]

CBS News on the credibility of the National Enquirer’s John Edwards story:
“Even as some national news organizations tried halfheartedly to confirm the tawdry tale … Only Edwards’s belated confession Friday to ABC’s Bob Woodruff allowed news organizations to jump” [August 11, 2008] (10 months after Enquirer story)

CBS News on the credibility of the National Enquirer’s Sarah Palin story:
“Running a story about McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, allegedly having an affair with her husband’s business partner … the story is based entirely on unnamed sources.” [September 3, 2008] (10 hours after Enquirer story)

I’m not one to post on national politics (with the notable exception of my quadrennial presidential debate bingo cards), but I was very much looking forward to a proper vetting of the new candidate. Instead, we are treated to hours of self-referential tautologies (“some in the media are saying…”), statements that become true as soon as these six words are spoken.

Gloria Steinem in making the case for Hillary Clinton asked her readers rhetorically if a woman with Obama’s resume would ever be taken seriously as a candidate, arguing that “there is still no `right’ way to be a woman in public power without being considered a you-know-what.” I actually didn’t know what, until Ms. Steinem let me know describing Palin’s speech as “down-home” and “divisive.”

The most obvious example of this sanctimonious scandle-mongering is Politico’s electron-wasting columnist Roger Simon. His most recent sarcastic screed demands to know why the media is precluded from questioning Palin’s qualifications and beliefs. Three days prior, Mr. Simon demonstrated his noble journalistic inquisition in a piece titled “Sex dominates GOP’s opening day,” opining: “If the campaign could just manage to arrange Bristol’s marriage on stage at the convention, it might generate some much-needed positive buzz and a good photo op.”

Mr Simon, perhaps the main obstacle to your journalistic pursuits is … you.

A local recording studio is being confiscated by the city of Nashville to put it to a “higher valued use.” Apparently, the music emanating from Music Row in Music City sounds sweeter from a high-tax-rate high-rise than from an historic, independent label. Joy Ford was unwilling to sell her business of thirty years to the Lionstone Development Group, the Houston-based buyer of “underdeveloped real estate assets.” In response, City officials slipped under the covers with the developer to transfer the property from one private interest (its owner) to another—a Robin Hood in reverse.

I blame Karl Dean. I blame Phil Ryan. And yes, I blame (despite this being grounds for revocation of my UVA diploma) Thomas Jefferson. He should have foreseen the impact of his aspirational turning of the phrase. Sandra Day O’Connor did, but she was outvoted.

Let’s review…

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