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Archive for November, 2010

links for 2010-11-30

  • That is why I believe most Americans don’t want a plan for deficit reduction. The Tea Party’s vision is narrow and uninspired. Americans want a plan to make America great again, and at some level they know that such a plan will require a hybrid politics — one that blends elements of both party’s instincts. And they will follow a president — they would even pay more taxes and give up more services — if they think he really has a plan to make America great again, not just bring him victory in 2012 by 50.1 percent.
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links for 2010-11-28

  • Studio 360 explores F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and finds out how this compact novel became the great American story of our age.  Novelist Jonathan Franzen tells Kurt Andersen why he still reads it every year or two, and writer Patricia Hampl explains why its lightness is deceptive. We’ll drive around the tony Long Island suburbs where Gatsby was set, and we’ll hear from Andrew Lauren about his film G, which sets Gatsby among the hip-hop moguls. And Azar Nafisi describes the power of teaching the book to university students in Tehran. Readings come courtesy of Scott Shepherd, an actor who sometimes performs the entire book from memory.
  • Murder became ordinary during wartime, wrote Miłosz, and was even regarded as legitimate if it was carried out on behalf of the resistance. In the name of patriotism, young boys from law-abiding, middle-class families became hardened criminals, thugs for whom “the killing of a man presents no great moral problem.” Theft became ordinary too, as did falsehood and fabrication. People learned to sleep through sounds that would once have roused the whole neighborhood: the rattle of machine-gun fire, the cries of men in agony, the cursing of the policeman dragging the neighbors away.

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links for 2010-11-27

  • Rather than acting in their customers’ best interests, financial institutions may peddle opaque investment products, like collateralized debt obligations. Privy to superior information, banks can charge hefty fees and drive up their own profits at the expense of clients who are induced to take on risks they don’t fully understand—a form of rent seeking. “Mispricing gives incorrect signals for resource allocation, and, at worst, causes stock market booms and busts,” Woolley wrote in a recent paper. “Rent capture causes the misallocation of labor and capital, transfers substantial wealth to bankers and financiers, and, at worst, induces systemic failure. Both impose social costs on their own, but in combination they create a perfect storm of wealth destruction.”

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links for 2010-11-24

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links for 2010-11-23

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links for 2010-11-15

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links for 2010-11-13

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