Wednesday December 04, 2013
August 1st, 2013
The dysfunctional system of public risk and private profit that brought down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, at huge taxpayer expense, is dead and buried - unless, of course, a federal judge resurrects it for the benefit of a few lucky hedge funds.
The city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy protection on July 18 - the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. Detroit, of course, is synonymous with the auto industry, which has been rebounding recently. So why is Detroit struggling? To find out, let's dispel some myths about the city's past and present.
1. The auto industry is back, so Detroit should be, too.
We interrupt our consideration of the profound political issues confronting America to point out that Mick Jagger just turned 70.
His birthday was Friday. Not much word on his emotions. Jagger did not twitter about it on his official site. So at least there's that. Nothing is all bad if it avoids becoming a tweet.
It was nearly 100 years ago that Estelle Lindsey was the first woman elected to serve on the Los Angeles City Council.
It was 60 years ago that 22-year-old Roz Wyman was the youngest person elected to serve on the Los Angeles City Council.
By the 1990s, one-third of the city council -- five of 15 -- was comprised of women.
Today, it is one in 15.
Edward Wong's terrific front-page article in The New York Times on Friday is as good an encapsulation of the issues currently facing China and its economy as anything you're likely to read on the subject. As it tries to move from a fast-growing, export-oriented, developing economy to a more mature economy, it keeps bumping up against problems that could prevent it from becoming the kind of economic power it so clearly longs to be. These problems are almost entirely self-inflicted.
A new documentary, "The Act of Killing," explores the human capacity for mass murder. It addresses the Indonesian fratricide of the mid-1960s, in which a million people may have been killed.
As Americans, we've been raised on the notion that any child could dream of becoming president. But when you see how much "fun" Barack Obama and his immediate predecessors have had in that job - and when you look at where the most exciting innovations in governance are happening - how long will it be before our kids, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, answer: "I want to be a mayor." Except in Detroit, mayors today have more fun.
I neither spotted a psychotherapist nor heard mention of therapy in Woody Allen's newest movie, "Blue Jasmine," which pokes fun at faddish, pampered New Yorkers, as Allen tends to do. But a personal trainer flits across the screen and factors into the plot.
That pretty much says it all.
When you puzzle over why the elegant Huma Abedin is propping up the eel-like Anthony Weiner, you must remember one thing: Huma was raised in Saudi Arabia, where women are treated worse by men than anywhere else on the planet.
Many present-day Republicans seem bent on making "Backward, Christian Soldiers" their marching song in their relentless determination to "repeal and replace Obamacare," even to the point of repeating their lemming-like plunge over the cliff of another government shutdown.