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Is there anyone out there who still expects anything from the Angelides Commission? After AIG? After TARP? After Treasury’s gargantuan tax breaks for banks, Geithner’s preposterous asset buying program, the Citigroup $300 billion plus “ring fence,” or the FDIC’s guarantees of bank debts? Or, for that matter, the proposed new financial “reform” legislation that does little to rein in “too big to fail” banks and their long deadly chains of derivatives and credit default swaps? Probably not. But since the Commission is finally holding its first hearings this week, let’s just for a moment suspend disbelief and imagine how we skeptics might be proved wrong. One telltale sign will come right at the start: Are the bankers who are testifying required to do so under oath or not? If the answer is no, relax and go see a disaster movie. You can be sure that it will all be just for show. –“Ask Holder to Be Bolder: Resolving the Mysteries of AIG,” Tom Ferguson, New Deal 2.0
A Harper’s Magazine history of whitewash: John T. Flynn on the Pecora Commission and the Depression, circa 1934: “The Marines Land in Wall Street” (free PDF–and highly recommended);
Christopher Hitchens on closeted Republican conservatives, circa 1987: “It Dares not Speak Its Name: Fear and self-loathing on the gay right” (subs);
and free: Benjamin DeMott on terrorism and 9/11, circa 2004: Whitewash as public service: How the 9/11 Commission Report defrauds the nation”;
and the Harper’s Index searchable archive, for all statistics on “corruption”
Emet means truth. It is my ur-word. It is the essence of Hashem, the impetus of creation, the midwife of the Covenant. These are poor words, but they will do. I could go on for hours. Ruth has advised against that… Ruth had a job as a community worker. She arrived unbidden at the home of an at-risk youth to give his parents a list of behaviors to stop. They nearly pushed her down a flight of stairs. She was fired. She had a volunteer position at a daycare. A boy asked her what it was like to not have a thingie. She answered, in great detail. Some policemen were called, most certainly an overreaction, but Ruth raised her voice and informed them that law is a deterrent to crime, not to gender. She is no longer welcome at the daycare. –“Marked Man,” The Golem Blog, The Morning News
When executives at Unilever noticed that much of their office space was either unused or unoccupied as workers traveled, they took away 36 percent of their employees’ personal space. The company’s offices in Leatherhead, England, now feature “agile” space: a largely open office where workers rearrange themselves throughout the day depending upon their tasks. They can collaborate with one another while sitting at a table, take a break in a curvy “vitality” space or concentrate alone in a small individual work area. The company’s design for its corporate offices in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., resembles a large house more than a cube farm. Renovations in Bogota and Singapore are scheduled to be finished in 2010. –“On the death of the Cubicle,” Susan E. Reed, Global Post
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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