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On Leonard Lopate: Listen to Benjamin Anastas discuss “Mammon from Heaven: The prosperity gospel in recession” (subs) from the March 2010 Harper’s Magazine.
The question everyone should be asking, as one bailout recipient after another posts massive profits– Goldman reported $13.4 billion in profits last year, after paying out that $16.2 billion in bonuses and compensation– is this: In an economy as horrible as ours, with every factory town between New York and Los Angeles looking like those hollowed-out ghost ships we see on History Channel documentaries like Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, where in the hell did Wall Street’s eye-popping profits come from, exactly? Did Goldman go from bailout city to $13.4 billion in the black because, as Blankfein suggests, its “performance” was just that awesome? A year and a half after they were minutes away from bankruptcy, how are these assholes not only back on their feet again, but hauling in bonuses at the same rate they were during the bubble? The answer to that question is basically twofold: They raped the taxpayer, and they raped their clients. –“Wall Street’s Bailout Hustle,” Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone via CommonDreams
In short supply: jobs
and health care;
in abundance: Lady Gaga, thanks to social media;
related: Washington Post describes how a Harper’s Magazine piece (free) is better than a few zillion dollars of official intelligence
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent funding transparency projects around the globe. That money doesn’t come from the sky. The question isn’t whether some transparency is better than none; it’s whether transparency is really the best way to spend these resources, whether they would have a bigger impact if spent someplace else. I tend to think they would. All this money has been spent with the goal of getting a straight answer, not of doing anything about it. Without enforcement power, the most readable database in the world won’t accomplish much— even if it’s perfectly accurate. So people go online and see that all cars are dangerous and that all politicians are corrupt. What are they supposed to do then? –“When Is Transparency Useful,” Aaron Swartz, Raw Thought
Pektos– translation: spin. If you’re going to jump before deciding how to finish the play, you better be able to score from all angles and from an array of release points. To that end, PBA scorers like Lim and his modern day forebears James Yap and Willie Miller combine spin and touch with scoops and finger rolls to bank shots like they were born with a Spalding in one hand and a protractor in the other. They may have grown up speaking tongues like Tagalog, Cebuano, and Ilonggo, but their use of shot-making English could leave H.L. Mencken at a loss for words. Spin is such a necessary part of the Philippine game that when large numbers of Filipino-Americans started coming back to play in the Nineties, guys from Cali received earnest instructions to imagine they were unscrewing a lightbulb while shooting layups. –“Where Magaling Happens,” by editor Rafe Bartholomew, FreeDarko.com
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”