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It's a bet

The day after the election last week, I tried what I thought might be a novel way to do my little bit to heal the divisiveness left by the campaign. I offered Bush's critics among the blogosphere to make a wager with me on whether the country would do better or worse over the next year. The catch I insisted on, however, was that they would have to bet that things would get better (or at least not tank). I received several respectful declinations, a few ranting arguments, and one asshole (who has been named enough lately) who thought it would be a good idea to link my peace offering with a bitter, invective-filled, ominous screed.

But at the tail end of it, one lone blogger stepped forward and took my challenge. Oyster of Your Right Hand Thief , certainly no supporter of President Bush, has taken up the olive branch and is willing to put his own blog's integrity on the line.

Oyster and I agreed on the terms (spelled out in the extended section, if you're curious). If two of those three conditions happen, I win and I get to post whatever I want on his site. If they don't happen, he wins and he gets to post whatever he wants here at Wizbang. In fact, I'm going to sweeten the pot and, if he wins, I'll give 50 bucks to Habitat for Humanity (a charity he mentioned he supported). Anything that keeps Jimmy Carter beating on poor people's houses with a hammer and out of meddling with international affairs HAS to be a good thing.

But more importantly, if he wins, we all win. I'm betting things will go bad for America, he's pulling for us to do better.

So I invite everyone to go over to Oyster's page and cheer him on. I know I'm hoping he wins this bet.

Come on, folks. Help me lose this one!


For the terms of this bet, "the economy tanking" shall be defined as three months or more of unemployment being over 6%, "the draft coming back" shall be defined as a bill to reinstate the Selective Service System introduced and backed by Republicans and supported by a White House official, and "a major terrorist attack" shall be defined as a single incident or roughly coinciding incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within the borders of the United States, or a series of two or more related incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within one week.

Comments (11)

200 is too low a number (it... (Below threshold)

200 is too low a number (it's less than just the FDNY's WTC victims), but I like the idea of the bet. It's based on provable stuff, not perceptions.

Economy tanking is not 6% u... (Below threshold)

Economy tanking is not 6% unemployment. Go back to Clinton Era and read what was reported of 5.4%-5.5% unemployment. This last quarter (and previous quarter revisions) job growth was strong, and unemployment still rose. Why? Because the unemployment figures included an increase in the people who were out of the job market for any number of reasons (including starting/running/ending their own companies or other self-employment) and who decided to get back into the job search due to stronger job prospects (hiring/advertising/demand) or whatever other reasons they decided to get back into the job search market. Individuals who aren't counted in unemployment numbers because they aren't looking for work and who suddenly decide to look for work while the hiring stays the same, productivity stays the same, company revenue and earnings stay the same, company hiring stays the same, does not make for a tanking economy, unless you are the opposition.

You rigged the bet. How about defining "economy tanking" to what the economists define it as, or what they define a recession as, over a period of three months? You can google it to get the definition of a recession. I'd set it at a minimum of three months of negative job growth (job losses). Up until Bush Sr. started a growing economy, and the Republican takeover of Congress forced the first balanced budget, 5% unemployment was considered FULL employment. 6% unemployment being the metric for economy tanking is a sick joke.

Concerning your definition ... (Below threshold)

Concerning your definition of "the draft coming back", am I mistaken or isn't the Selective Service System still in place? Doesn't a male citizen still have to register with Selective Service when he turns 18? I think the definition has to be revised to specify that individuals must actually be drafted into military service using the Selective Service System.

Either way, I'm pulling for Oyster.

Yeah, not clear enough in s... (Below threshold)

Yeah, not clear enough in selective service. It is already in effect for registration requirements. Also, there has already been talk of seeking individuals in highly trained specialty fields (like was done with doctors in Korean War), and this may come to pass some time in the near future through some selective service mechanism.

Let's get down to less squirrelly definitions. Forget "selective service" double talk. Let's get down to real draft definitions. Any introduction of a bill that inducts males over a certain minimal age, 18 or 21 or whatever, and includes males simply by age, and is used to include males only by age, where the cutoff is age. In other words, they draft males between 18 years and 18 years 2 months to fill their first quota, then 18 years 4 months, to fill their next quota, etc. The usual exclusions (college, marriage, running to Canada) would apply as definitions, as these would surely be included.

Let's not use technicalities to wiggle out of a bet or win a bet. If the bet is real, do it right. Selective service means different things, and there was already talk of "adjusting" the selective service system (as well as reviews of it) recently, perhaps something you knew about already. A draft is a draft. Selective service is not a draft.

InYourDreams, I proposed th... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

InYourDreams, I proposed the terms and opened them for negotiations. Oyster accepted them as is. The bet is closed.

If you want to make a second bet with me, under different conditions, let's hear your proposal. Consider my bet with Oyster as a starting point. Otherwise, as Theresa Heinz Kerry said so eloquently, "shove it."


Whether or not there is a m... (Below threshold)

Whether or not there is a major terrorist attack, an economic boom or bust, or sailors conscripted off the streets, I will continue to go home each day and flip madly around the television for the latest reality program.

Thanks again for the opport... (Below threshold)

Thanks again for the opportunity, Jay. I'm surprised more lefties didn't take you up on it.

I agree that, if I win, we all win. The Wizbangers you advised to "cheer me on" are the wind beneath my wings.

Stupid point here - "the ec... (Below threshold)

Stupid point here - "the economy tanking" shall be defined as three months or more of unemployment being over 6%...

Is this three months in a row?

InYourDreams, how can you b... (Below threshold)

InYourDreams, how can you blame a sitting "president" for a natural ebb and flow of the business cycle (recession - inflation) ?

I'm sure you've taken "economics classes", however, unless your a person who follows Marxist theories that the ebb and flow of the normal business cycle is unhealthy for the economy, that is normal.

Blaming a sitting president for a short recession (c'mon, 3 months is not an extended period of time), is like blaming a Chief Engineer on a ship for excessive fuel consumption when "sailing" (actually the proper term would really be "motoring") near the equator, with air conditioning loads on the A/C system excessively high.

Basically it has nothing to do with him.

Yawn. When does the '08 el... (Below threshold)

Yawn. When does the '08 election start?

I understand that th... (Below threshold)
jack rudd:

I understand that the bet is closed, but would point out that in the 1970's, prominent economists proclaimed that 6 percent unemployment was a "floor", rather than a standard of good performance.

What about a terrorist act that kills 200 Americans but is claimed by the FBI to be from another cause? E.g., the downing of TWA Flight 800, which even John Kerry referred to as a bombing.






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