Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Harper's

Some More Links

leave a comment »

* Smart presidents making stupid arguments:

For instance, the FDA has long considered saccharin, the artificial sweetener, safe for people to consume. Yet for years, the EPA made companies treat saccharin like other dangerous chemicals. Well, if it goes in your coffee, it is not hazardous waste.

They call it poison. We call it life.

* From the don’t-know-if-this-is-crazy-or-awesome file: Though stem cell therapies are still in the early stages of development, some families are having their children’s baby teeth extracted and saved in anticipation of treatments that could be around by the time the child reaches adulthood, the Miami Herald reports.

* When Left-Wing Editors Fight Unions.

* When Famous Directors Lose Their Minds.

* Being Roger Ailes.

* Bomb Planted Along MLK Day Parade Route In Spokane.

* David Simon v. Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III. Discussion at MeFi.

* Last Stand 4 Children is devoted to providing all children with a quality education in spite of their teachers. See also: Billionaires for Educational Reform. (Via @mrtalbot.)

* Almost none of these “literal New Yorker cartoons” are actually “literal,” though a few are amusing nonetheless.

* Uplifting Duke/Durham story of the day: The Secret Game.

The North Carolina College Eagles were coming off their most successful season ever at that time. McLendon had just led his team to a 26-1 season. Aubrey Stanley, Henry (Big Dog) Thomas, Floyd (Cootie) Brown and James (Boogie-Woogie) Hardy were the stars on a team that ran McLendon’s fast break with great discipline.

That team was not eligible for participation in the National Invitational Tournament or the NCAA tournaments simply because they were African-Americans, but many — including the Hall of Famer McLendon — felt like the Eagles could’ve beaten anyone.

Meanwhile, Burgess and others regularly attended meetings at the local Y in Durham, as students from both sides of the tracks met secretly to discuss ways to overcome racism in the local area. During one of those meetings, the conversation turned to basketball and a bold challenge was issued: What about a secret game between the Eagles and the Duke Medical School team?

* And your couch is trying to kill you. Don’t let it!

The Wrecking Crew

leave a comment »

‘The wrecking crew: How a gang of right-wing con men destroyed Washington and made a killing.’ This is from August, but I only got to it on the plane last weekend—and it’s fantastic.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 3, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday Morning Links

leave a comment »

Tuesday morning links.

* If movie posters were honest. See also: if covers of marginal SF/fantasy series were honest.

* Who knew full moons had names? Via G-Lens.

* Is California the new Michigan?

* Tough times in the USA: people are eating racoon. This has nothing to do with the recession, apparently—some people are just choosing to eat it because they are gross.

* Potsdam University is offering a graduate how-to course on flirting for computer geeks.

* Arm-Chair Logic has your elementary logic test for the day.

* Solar apocalypse: NASA warns of ‘Space Katrina.’ My production company has already optioned the rights to this headline, don’t even think about it.

* Harper’s Index: Bush retrospective mega-edition.

* A task force created by 49 state attorneys general to look into the problem of sexual solicitation of children online has concluded that there really is not a significant problem. That’s right: online sexual predators have infiltrated top-level attorneys general offices in 49 states. We must redouble our efforts.

* And Whedonesque asks, appropriately forlorn: Has it really been five years since Angel ended? That is a little hard to believe. The Armchair Critic ranks the twenty-five best episodes, and the five worst, of one of the best (and surely the most underappreciated) SF series of all time.

‘Why the Economy Is Worse Than We Know’

leave a comment »

‘Numbers Racket: Why the Economy Is Worse Than We Know’ [pdf]. The excellent cover story for this month’s Harper’s is currently being hosted by Big Picture; you can find an excerpt with the key points at tampabay.com.

When I read this a few days ago, I was nearly moved to manually type in a few paragraphs; this makes that significantly easier:

The real numbers, to most economically minded Americans, would be a face full of cold water. Based on the criteria in place a quarter century ago, today’s U.S. unemployment rate is somewhere between 9 percent and 12 percent; the inflation rate is as high as 7 or even 10 percent; economic growth since the recession of 2001 has been mediocre, despite a huge surge in the wealth and incomes of the superrich, and we are falling back into recession.

If what we have been sold in recent years has been delusional “Pollyanna Creep,” what we really need today is a picture of our economy ex-distortion. For what it would reveal is a nation in deep difficulty not just domestically but globally.

Undermeasurement of inflation, in particular, hangs over our heads like a guillotine. To acknowledge it would send interest rates climbing, and thereby would endanger the viability of the massive buildup of public and private debt (from less than $11-trillion in 1987 to $49-trillion last year) that props up the American economy. Moreover, the rising cost of pensions, benefits, borrowing, and interest payments — all indexed or related to inflation — could join with the cost of financial bailouts to overwhelm the federal budget.

Arguably, the unraveling has already begun. As Robert Hardaway, a University of Denver professor, pointed out last fall, the subprime lending crisis “can be directly traced back to the (1983) BLS decision to exclude the price of housing from the CPI. … With the illusion of low inflation inducing lenders to offer 6 percent loans, not only has speculation run rampant on the expectations of ever-rising home prices, but home buyers by the millions have been tricked into buying homes even though they only qualified for the teaser rates.”

Were mainstream interest rates to jump into the 7 to 9 percent range — which could happen if inflation were to spur new concern — both Washington and Wall Street would be walking in quicksand. The make-believe economy of the past two decades, with its asset bubbles, massive borrowing, and rampant data distortion, would be in serious jeopardy.

The credit markets are fearful, and the financial markets are nervous. If gloom continues, our humbugged nation may truly regret losing sight of history, risk and common sense.

Via MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 4, 2008 at 1:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

Mr. Fish and His Cartoons

leave a comment »

It’s been a while since I checked out Mr. Fish’s political cartoons at Harper’s online, and as usual I was pleased to discover a whole mess of great political cartoonage.

And there’s plenty more, of course, that I might easily have embedded instead.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 21, 2008 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,