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I spoke today with a former government official who was appalled by Obama’s suggested emergency aid to the auto industry and by the Bush administration’s bail-out of the financial industry. Here’s what he had to say:
I’m against these bailouts on principle but if you’re going to give these firms money, it certainly should be predicated on firing the CEOs, the CFOs and the whole corporate command structure. Management always has an excuse – it was the unions or the economy was bad or something else. But you were the guys in charge and now you want us to throw $25 billion into your failed company?
If it’s decided that a bailout is in the country’s strategic national interest, fine, then do it. But the taxpayers should not be asked to turn the money over to the people who fucked up the companies and ran them into the ground. But that’s the way it is across the board, there’s no accountability. The government didn’t fire anyone after 9/11 either. How do you even talk about generating innovation and creativity when you reward failure with staggering amounts of money? It violates every tenet of leadership and management.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”