Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, September 30, 2021

As Congress and the White House scramble in the aftermath of Monday’s House defeat of that $700-billion bill, it seems that proponents of the second-chance attempt at passage are targeting the semantics of a “bailout” versus a “buy-in”.

You’d think that a rose by any other name would still net the same “nay” votes. But, as is all too often the case, the marketing pitch counts, especially to constituents:

An AP-Knowledge Networks poll last week that asked whether people supported Bush’s proposed federal “bailout” of financial institutions found only 30 percent backing it. Surveys by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center that asked whether people support “investing” or “committing” billions to keep markets secure found slightly more favoring the plan than opposing it.

And so the promising terms get a workout, all to avoid that dreaded, pro-fatcat b-word:

“Let’s not call it a bailout. Let’s call it a rescue,” said Republican John McCain.

Democratic rival Barack Obama said, “This is no longer just a Wall Street crisis - it’s an American crisis, and it’s the American economy that needs this rescue plan.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s take: It’s not a bailout but “a buy-in, so that we can turn our economy around.”

Thus shifting the focus from Wall Street to Main Street, i.e. hitting home. Hard to believe Washington didn’t frame it this way to start with; I’m sure the conspiracy theorists see an intentional fumble on that, all for forcing a steep market dip yesterday.

Will it work? The Senate is scheduled to vote on a (slightly) revised plan tomorrow morning, so we’ll find out soon enough if this wordplay made all the difference. If so, score one for the language brigade!

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 09/30/2008 10:30:56 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Politics, Wordsmithing
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confession
I’m watching Death and the Maiden, which I was lucky enough to stumble upon on IFC.

If you’ve never seen this taut Roman Polanski adaptation of Ariel Dorfman’s play about the poisonous corruption that permeates torturer and tortured under a police state, then you should. Right through to that final scene, where the trio of players finally have to confront the realities of living with the past in what’s supposed to be the context of normal everyday life, while the title-referenced Schubert performance plays on a nearby stage.

I’ve watched it a couple dozen times, and my fascination with the narrative’s themes has yet to wane.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 09/30/2008 08:04:24 PM
Category: Movies, Political
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comped
[image credit]
I cannot tell you how much of a flashback I got when I saw New York television news institution John Roland doing a TV commercial for Wilens & Baker earlier this week.

My freakout continued yesterday as I passed by several subway station ads for Wilens, with Rolands’ mug prominently displayed. This new campaign for the law firm is obviously trying to tap into the rich nostalgia to be found in this city’s local TV station scene from the ’70s and ’80s, of which Roland was an indelible part.

Note that the former Channel 5/WNEW/WNYW news anchor carries the title “Compensated Spokesperson” for his new gig. I imagine that plays by the rules in legal advertising. It’s even more pertinent in this case, as Wilens & Baker aren’t the squeakiest-clean bunch of shysters around.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 09/30/2008 06:32:27 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., History, New Yorkin', TV
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