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Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay

Via: Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay – funny and well-written economics book I have read a mountain of economics books that purport to explain the great econopocalypse in which we find ourselves, but none can hold a candle to John Lanchester’s Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay, a British book that explains the macro- and microeconomic phenomena with a novelist’s sense of plot and clarity (Lanchester being a novelist) that nevertheless refuses to sacrifice accuracy for accessibility. Lanchester explains the econopocalypse thus: a climate (the fall of the Soviet Union and the triumphal do-no-wrong belief in unfettered capitalism that ensued), a problem (using derivatives to expand risk, rather than limit it, which led to reckless lending in the housing market), a mistake (bankers assuming that they had laid off the risk using complex derivatives) and a failure (regulators refusing to look the financial gift-horse in the mouth). This provides an excellent framework for explaining the ways in which history, greed, and hubris conspired to create the worst financial crisis in memory. What’s more, Lanchester is funny, and he has a gift for making you revisit [ ... ]
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Bill Nye: Climate Change Skeptics “Unpatriotic”

I love Bill Nye. My favorite quotes: We remind you that ‘global warming’ was the first term for this phenomenon that we now call Climate Change. These guys claiming that the snow in Washington disproves climate change … are almost un-patriotic. Really, they’re denying science. They are very happy to have the weather forecast be accurate within a few hours, but they’re displeased or un-enchanted by predictions of the world getting warmer. I couldn’t agree more with his observation that “older people” tend to think far less symbiotically than do younger people. Additionally, the scientific fact that warmer oceans = wilder weather including (gasp) snow! Via: Bill Nye: Climate Change Skeptics “Unpatriotic” Most children of the nineties have fuzzy memories of Emmy-winning scientist Bill Nye the Science Guy, creator and host of a beloved educational television program of the same name that was [is?] shown in middle school science classes across the nation. On Wednesday, Nye got tough when he appeared on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show, stating twice that climate change deniers are “unpatriotic.” For young adult climate skeptics, it must hurt to have a childhood icon emerge ghostlike from the past to call you an anti-American.

Our Founders Were Not Fundamentalists

Via: Our Founders Were NOT Fundamentalists by Harvey Wasserman February 14, 2010 “God made the idiot for practice, and then He made the school board.” –Mark Twain Today’s New York Times Sunday Magazine highlights yet another mob of extremists using the Texas School Board to baptize our children’s textbooks. This endless, ever-angry escalating assault on our Constitution by crusading theocrats could be obliterated with the effective incantation of two names: Benjamin Franklin, and Deganawidah. But first, let’s do some history: Actual Founder-Presidents #2 through #6 — John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and John Quincy Adams — were all freethinking Deists and Unitarians; what Christian precepts they embraced were moderate, tolerant and open-minded. Actual Founder-President #1, George Washington, became an Anglican as required for original military service under the British, and occasionally quoted scripture. But he vehemently opposed any church-state union. In a 1790 letter to the Jews of Truro, he wrote: The “Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistances, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens.” A 1796 treaty he signed says “the government of the United States of America is not, [ ... ]

It Snowed In Every Continental State!

Pretty amazing! Via: Snow whitens ground in 49 US states Forget red and blue — color America white. There was snow on the ground in 49 states yesterday, with Hawaii the lone holdout. It was the United States of Snow, thanks to an unusual combination of weather patterns that dusted the country, including the skyscrapers of Dallas, the peach trees of Atlanta and the Florida Panhandle. More than two-thirds of the nation had snow on the ground when the day dawned, and then it snowed ever so slightly in Florida to make it 49 states out of 50.

Eustace Mullins – Last Writ For A Martyr

From: Eustace Mullins -” Last Writ For A Martyr via Eustace Mullins, known for his seminal book, The Secrets of The Federal Reserve, passed away at the age of eighty-seven on February 2, 2010. His passing, like his books, was completely buried in the establishment media. For all his efforts in revealing the nature of “our” banking system, he achieved the status of a non-person, a blacked-out dissident in the American Oligarchy.

Santa Fe Institute economist: one in four Americans is employed to guard the wealth of the rich

From: Santa Fe Institute economist: one in four Americans is employed to guard the wealth of the rich via Here’s a fascinating profile on radical Santa Fe Institute economist Samuel Bowles, an empiricist who says his research doesn’t support the Chicago School efficient marketplace hypothesis. Instead, Bowles argues that the wealth inequality created by strict market economics creates inefficiencies because society has to devote so much effort to stopping the poor from expropriating the rich. He calls this “guard labor” and says that one in four Americans is employed to in the sector — labor that could otherwise be used to increase the nation’s wealth and progress. The greater the inequalities in a society, the more guard labor it requires, Bowles finds. This holds true among US states, with relatively unequal states like New Mexico employing a greater share of guard labor than relatively egalitarian states like Wisconsin. The problem, Bowles argues, is that too much guard labor sustains “illegitimate inequalities,” creating a drag on the economy. All of the people in guard labor jobs could be doing something more productive with their time–perhaps starting their own businesses or helping to reduce the US trade deficit [ ... ]

Late Night: How Not to be “Seen”

From: Late Night: How Not to be “Seen” via I said this last week: The White House has spent this last year insulating the president from the grit and grime of the health reform battle, thinking that if Obama stayed above the fray, he would be seen as more presidential—or at least would retain that “new car smell” and those lofty approval numbers. And this week, it seems more and more people are noticing—or, perhaps, more accurately, they noticed a long time ago, but now they feel more comfortable talking about it. Take, for instance, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who told Sam Stein: The president was weighing in pretty heavily on the discussions between the House and Senate before the Massachusetts special [Senate] election–it’s dried up since. Or the Democratic source that told Chris Frates at Politico that during a Thursday meeting between the Democratic caucus and Obama: Pelosi expressed frustration with the pace of progress and the president’s decision not to weigh in publicly on a way forward, according to the source. There are also similar leaks and statements about frustrations expressed by Senators Franken (D-MN) and Sanders [ ... ]

Election Day – Barack Obama Wins!

New York Times Cover Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday, sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics with ease as the country chose him as its first black chief executive. “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” said Mr. Obama, standing before a huge wooden lectern with a row of American flags at his back, casting his eyes to a crowd that stretched far into the Chicago night. “It’s been a long time coming,” the president-elect added, “but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America.” The Winning Team By ADAM NAGOURNEY Published: November 4, 2008
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