It’s often said that professors live in ivory towers, so it was refreshing to see an opposing view in the New York Times this week— from a Nobel laureate in Economics, no less. Paul Krugman argued Tuesday that Ben Bernanke put forth better ideas as a professor than he does as the fed chair. Read the article and decide for yourself.
Just reading of the passing of Daniel Bell, influential sociologist, cultural commentator and author, who has died at the age of 91. I’m always impressed by the number of intellectuals who came out of City College in New York in the ’30s — reads like a Who’s Who of American 20th century political thinkers. Even down to the famous cafeteria mentioned in Bell’s New York Times obit, where different political junkies sorted themselves out by affiliation in different parts of the room. Especially like Bell’s account of his bar mitzvah; it reads like a joke by Woody Allen – who, incidentally, also attended City College for a time.
On a cold rainy day like today a nice hot cup of coco would be the best thing. International news has been weighted with news about political unrest in the Ivory Coast. Many people probably think that problem is thousands of miles away? Well it’s actually impacting the price I pay for my hot chocolate. Cocoa prices have been rising as the situation in the Ivory Coast intensifies. The Ivory Coast is the largest producer of cocoa in the world at 46%. Both sides in the conflict are beginning to come together as noted in the Blood Chocolate article published by Business Insider. That being said this comes after the price of cocoa has risen drastically over the past few months. Read more on the impact of cocoa on western Africa in the new book Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa.
It is widely known that some laws are drafted by special interest groups, at times law makers don’t have the time, staff or background knowledge to compile a law that covers everything that needs to be addressed. NPR in an investigative report on the background behind the Arizona Immigration Law has surfaced the fact that a report entitled Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act eventually became Arizona Senate Bill 1070 on immigration. The report was written by a private company in the corrections field named Corrections Corporation of America and in market research CCA sees the potential for rapid large scale growth in immigrant detention which is overseen by the department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can read more about NPRs findings and how they unraveled who was involved in drafting Bill 1070 in the report Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law.
An article in the New York Times reports on television advertising campaigns and politics. In fact this article is the first of a series examining advertising in this year’s political campaigns.
From the article: “Much has been said this election season about the number of rich candidates tapping their fortunes to run for office. But with the campaign taking place during a still-difficult economy, the wealth of the candidates in Connecticut creates a bit of a challenge for their advertising teams: How do you boil more than 55 years of privilege and astounding affluence into 30 seconds of homespun appeal?”
Is Sarah Palin’s new book (Going Rogue) the second act in a reality show? In his op-ed Time magazine piece Survivor: Alaska, James Poniewozik discusses Palin’s “second act in the media”. Like a reality show star plucked from nowhere and dropped onto the set of a presidential campaign, this folksy average-Jane lost points after a Katie Couric interview, where she had difficulty identifying newspapers and magazines she read, among other things. Subsequently she was voted off the White House trail after many a campaign faux-pas. Now Palin is back, with a book and a reincarnation as rogue politician — or maybe future talk show host?
Is the President a little too cozy with a certain Internet behemoth? Fortune recently pondered the relationship between President Obama and Google. It is true that managers and employees at Google donated over $800,000 to Mr Obama’s presidential campaign (only folks at Goldman Sachs and Microsoft gave more.) And there are other affinities, such as the fact that Google’s Eric Schmidt sits on the President’s Council of Science and Technology Advisers, and that Google employees acted as advisers to the Obama transition team. Former high-placed Googler Andrew McLaughlin is now Obama’s deputy chief technology czar — and in a position to shape policy that affects Google’s rivals. On the other hand, Mr Obama has a reputation for anticorporate leanings, and Google is coming under increasing public and government scrutiny, such as the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation. Can this ‘love affair’ — if it exists — survive dog-eat-dog Washington?
The Summer NPQ ( New Perspectives Quarterly ) has arrived, with an emphasis on the dissension gripping the Islamic world. Articles include “The Essence of Islamist Resistance: A Different View Of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas”, “Iran’s Crisis of Legitimacy” and “A Global Convergence Against Globalization?” The usual stable of stars serve as contributors on a number of topics, including legendary M16 agent Alistair Crooke, Iranian lawyer and 2003 Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, former Kabul CIA station chief Graham Fuller, current CIA Director Leon Panetta, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz, Myron Scholes, Gary Becker and Roger Myerson, commentator Arianna Huffington, Tiananmen uprising leader Wang Dan, 2008 Nobel laureate Jean-Marie Gustav le Clezio, and others. Scope it out on the current Jackson periodical stacks.
Coming to a town hall near you: angry citizens opposed to the Waxman-Markey bill. The bill creates a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions. An article in the Irish Times claims that the American Petroleum Institute (API), representing the US oil industry, wrote to member companies asking them to “move aggressively” and stage up to 22 public meetings similar to recent protests against President Obama’s healthcare plans. Success breeds success, and the success of the healthcare protests at town hall meetings has allegedly motivated the API to stage its own — with an appropriate number of protesters — against imminent climate change legislation.