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State of Wonder

State of Wonder

By Ann Patchett

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Tag: Economy

John McCain
Flickr / soggydan

John McCain Is Not Reading This

It turns out that the candidate who says he’s vetting his vice president with “a Google” may not actually know how to do so. Asked whether John McCain ever used a computer, his “deputy eCampaign director” replied, “You don’t need to use a computer to know how it shapes the country.”

Posted on Jun 23, 2008 READ MORE


Countering Race With Class

In our us-versus-them culture, every political campaign is a battle to define who exactly the “us” and “them” are. At their most effective, Democrats parry by defining the “us” as the majority of working people, and the “them” as the tiny group of plutocrats who control the country.

Posted on Jun 19, 2008 READ MORE


Taxes, Integrity and Character

Once upon a time, there was a fiscally and socially responsible senator named John McCain.

Posted on Jun 18, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / maveric2003

China Gives U.S. Some Economic Pointers

The United States has long enjoyed lecturing the communist government of China over the conduct of that nation’s economy. How times have changed. Chinese officials have recently criticized the United States’ “warped conception” of regulation, among other economic blunders.

Posted on Jun 17, 2008 READ MORE


Fiat Chief on the Global Finance Crisis

The Italian-Canadian chief executive of Fiat, the leading Italian industrial enterprise, Sergio Marchionne, speaking about the present economic crisis last weekend, mentioned the well-known argument first made by the Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter about the function of “creative destruction” in modern capitalism.

Posted on Jun 16, 2008 READ MORE


John McCain
AP photo / LM Otero

John McCain’s Chilling Project for America

John McCain has long been a major player in a radical militaristic group driven by an ideology of global expansionism and dominance attained through perpetual, pre-emptive, unilateral, multiple wars. Over its two terms, the George W. Bush administration has planted the seeds for this geopolitical master plan, and now appears to be counting on the McCain administration, if one comes to power, to nurture it.

Posted on Jun 12, 2008 READ MORE


A Challenge Obama Should Accept

McCain has invited his rival to join him in a “town hall” tour. That would provide a forum for discussing the economy and for looking at just who has helped ease Americans’ pocketbook troubles in the past.

Posted on Jun 11, 2008 READ MORE


Getting Even

So is the glass half full or half empty after Clinton’s departure? Or to pick a better metaphor, is the “highest, hardest” glass ceiling now half shattered by the 18 million cracks or does it look as impermeable as ever after this unsuccessful battering?

Posted on Jun 11, 2008 READ MORE


Firing Congress

In 225 days, at least one high-ranking politician will become unemployed. How many will join President Bush in retirement?

Posted on Jun 9, 2008 READ MORE


Barack Obama
AP photo / Alex Brandon

The Iran Trap

The failure by Barack Obama to chart another course in the Middle East, to defy the Israel lobby and to denounce the Bush administration’s inexorable march toward a conflict with Iran is a failure to challenge the collective insanity that has gripped the political leadership in the United States and Israel.

Posted on Jun 8, 2008 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
howstuffworks.com

Unemployment Takes Its Biggest Jump Since 1986

In what one economist has called the “strongest evidence yet” that the U.S. is in recession, the country’s jobless rate has grown 0.5% since April, the largest monthly jump in more than 20 years. The unemployment rate has been steadily rising this year, with 324,000 jobs lost since January.

Posted on Jun 6, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

Nicholas von Hoffman on ‘The Big Squeeze’

A new book by New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse argues that the plight of American workers, both white-collar and blue-collar, is growing worse, putting the American dream out of the reach of tens of millions of citizens.

Posted on Jun 6, 2008 READ MORE


The Populist Uprising

American history is the history of populist uprisings. From the Revolutionary War to the coalfield wars, from labor organizers to anti-tax crusaders, from the New Deal to the current conservative era, backlashes to the status quo have defined every major political era.

Posted on Jun 5, 2008 READ MORE


for sale sign
Flickr / sfadden

Housing Signs Point to More Market Woes

The housing market is continuing its descent into Slumpsville, judging by the way things have gone over the first quarter of 2008, and indicators don’t look good for the immediate future, either. American homeowners have been forced into foreclosure in record numbers this year and late payments have soared to a new high.

Posted on Jun 5, 2008 READ MORE



commons.wikimedia.org

Joseph Stiglitz on Recession

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist and co-author of “The Three Trillion Dollar War,” shares his insights into America’s economic woes and explains why things are probably going to get worse.

Posted on Jun 3, 2008 READ MORE



commons.wikimedia.org

Joseph Stiglitz on Recession

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist and co-author of “The Three Trillion Dollar War,” shares his insights into America’s economic woes and explains why things are probably going to get worse.

Posted on Jun 3, 2008 READ MORE


fighter plane
AP photo / LM Otero

Indefensible Spending

What should be the most important issue in this election is one that is rarely, if ever, addressed: Why is U.S. military spending at the highest point, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than at any time since the end of World War II?

Posted on Jun 1, 2008 READ MORE


The Corporate State and the Subversion of Democracy

Chris Hedges gave this keynote address on Wednesday, May 28, in Furman University’s Younts Conference Center. The address was part of protests by faculty and students over the South Carolina college’s decision to invite George W. Bush to give the May 31 commencement address.

Posted on May 31, 2008 READ MORE


grocery store
Flickr / Jeff Keen

Struggling Families Feel Sting of Rising Food Prices

For the working poor who depend on food stamps to feed their families, it’s hard enough keeping up with inflation, let alone the steep price of food these days. Even in the richest country on Earth, the cost of basic foods has a huge impact on families that count every dollar, and benefits simply aren’t keeping pace.

Posted on May 27, 2008 READ MORE


The Price of House

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Posted on May 26, 2008 READ MORE


Blackwater Business School

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Posted on May 25, 2008 READ MORE


oil price graph
news.bbc.co.uk

Oil Hits New High, Again

The price of a barrel of crude oil has doubled over the last year, reaching a record $135 on Thursday. With dwindling supplies and a weak dollar, analysts expect the price to go up for some time.

Posted on May 22, 2008 READ MORE


gas prices
AP photo / Lisa Poole

Paying for War at the Pump

What’s it got to do with the price of gas? Would some reporter with access to the Republican presidential candidate please ask John McCain why he wants to continue President Bush’s Mideast policy when it has proved so ruinous for American taxpayers?

Posted on May 20, 2008 READ MORE


book cover
press.princeton.edu

Chalmers Johnson on Our ‘Managed Democracy’

Sheldon Wolin’s new book offers a controversial but ultimately convincing diagnosis of how America’s democracy has succumbed to an unacknowledged totalitarian temptation.

Posted on May 15, 2008 READ MORE


Toward a New Washington Consensus

What passes for smart economic policy is actually a set of right-wing globalization measures that destabilizes the world economy. For the sake of Americans and others, our politicians need to wise up.

Posted on May 15, 2008 READ MORE


Hillary Has a Choice

The senator still has a lot to win this year, but not the presidency and not the vice presidency.

Posted on May 12, 2008 READ MORE


Bushes
White House / Eric Draper

On the Wrong Track

According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 82 percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. The same survey recorded a record-low approval rating for President Bush. Sixty-two percent of Republicans, a group that still favors the president, take a negative view of the country’s direction.

Posted on May 12, 2008 READ MORE


coal
Flickr / LHOON

The Democrats’ Lump of Coal

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton agree on many issues, but it’s a bit surprising to see two candidates who’ve talked so much about the climate crisis and a new green economy tout their love of coal. Obama has an ad up in Kentucky that claims “Barack understands” the plight of the coal industry, while Clinton has promised voters in the state she would put more money into coal programs.

Posted on May 11, 2008 READ MORE


Chicago skyline
Wikimedia Commons / AllyUnion

Taking a Stand Against War

The Chicago City Council is debating a resolution urging the Illinois congressional delegation to oppose a war with Iran. Scott Ritter, who has been called as an expert witness on the matter, explains why the resolution should be supported—and not just by the citizens of Chicago.

Posted on May 11, 2008 READ MORE



commons.wikimedia.org

Us vs. Them

Emira Woods, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus, argues for a more humane foreign policy and explains why American airstrikes in Somalia and elsewhere are about more than terrorism.

Posted on May 6, 2008 READ MORE


cuban farmer
Flickr / Lauras512

Food Crisis Leads to Opportunity in Cuba

Raul Castro would like to see his island produce more food. Currently, Cuba imports the vast majority of its basic food products, at increasing expense, despite plenty of arable land. Private farmers and collective growers are hoping new reforms make it easier to produce food more efficiently, and that’s not just good news for Cuba. With rice rationing at Costco, that’s good news for the world.

Posted on May 5, 2008 READ MORE


The Wright Distraction at the Wrong Time

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Posted on May 4, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

Jeff Madrick on ‘High Wire,’ Peter Gosselin’s Look at the Economic Meltdown

A star reporter for the Los Angeles Times has written a clear, even elegant anatomy of an economy that is much worse than you probably think.

Posted on May 2, 2008 READ MORE


The Power of a Stupid Idea

There’s something maddening about this presidential campaign. It has become irrelevant whether anything the candidates say actually makes sense. Case in point: cutting the gas tax.

Posted on May 2, 2008 READ MORE


The Plague of Potomac Fever

Congress is ravaged by a disease inside the Washington Beltway inhibiting emotions like compassion and integrity. As the housing crisis intensifies, this malady is getting worse.

Posted on May 2, 2008 READ MORE


Hagee and McCain
AP photo / Gerald Herbert, file

Church, State and Campaign ‘08

We are letting religious fanaticism dominate the presidential campaign. The candidates have brought it on themselves with tedious references to their churchgoing piety. Now we’re all paying for it. Who cares what their preachers say?

Posted on May 1, 2008 READ MORE


Bush
blogs.trb.com

Bush Passes the Buck

Why is it that the U.S. economy is on a serious downswing? Could it be that we’re in the midst of a super-expensive war with little sign of scaling down in the near future that has jacked up oil prices to new heights and strained the federal budget? According to Bush, he’d have worked out our economic woes if it weren’t for those meddling congressional Democrats.

Posted on Apr 29, 2008 READ MORE


The Cutting Edge of Backward Thinking

Senate Republicans are determined to join with the Supreme Court to keep women on the losing end of discriminatory pay.

Posted on Apr 28, 2008 READ MORE


Belittling the Campaign

This is supposed to be a big election, but it has given every sign in recent weeks of becoming a small one. As a result, the public and the media are showing signs of exhaustion with what had once been an exhilarating contest.

Posted on Apr 28, 2008 READ MORE


Bush
boston.com

Bush Ready to Stimulate America

President Bush announced that rebate checks will start winging their way to taxpayers as early as Monday, helpfully observing that Americans need a little help paying for necessities like groceries and gas during this economic “slowdown”—a slightly different story from his initial justification for this economic stimulus plan, and one that wasn’t lost on his critics.

Posted on Apr 25, 2008 READ MORE


Sarkozy
ohiomm.com

Spin Control With Your Host, President Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy strode into office a year ago after talking big about economic growth, but by early 2008 he complained that “the till’s already empty”—as he sported flashy accessories and stepped out with an even flashier new partner, Carla Bruni.  Now, “Sarko” is doing crisis management and offering apologies for his past mistakes.

Posted on Apr 24, 2008 READ MORE


McCainomics

Fittingly, and with dreadful predictability, John McCain used April 15—tax day—as the day to release his economic plan. Fittingly, and with dreadful predictability, it offers more of the same. But more of the same what?

Posted on Apr 21, 2008 READ MORE


For the GOP, a Tough Sell

How on earth is the Republican Party going to sell John McCain? Once the Democrats stop doing the job, I mean.

Posted on Apr 21, 2008 READ MORE


Clinton and Obama
AP photo / Rick Bowmer

The Left Has Lost Its Way

The failure of the American left is a failure of nerve. It has been neutralized and rendered ineffectual as a political force because of its refusal to hold fast on core issues.

Posted on Apr 21, 2008 READ MORE


The Other Shoe Drops

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Posted on Apr 21, 2008 READ MORE


Poll: Economy Gets Nine Thumbs Down

A poll by The Washington Post-ABC News reports that nine in 10 Americans rate the economy negatively, with a majority of those polled believing it to be in “poor” shape. Support of the U.S. war in Iraq is also down, with six in 10 Americans rejecting the administration’s argument that the conflict is an effective defense against terrorism.

Posted on Apr 18, 2008 READ MORE


Newsmax/Zogby Poll: Deadlocked in Pennsylvania

With just five days left before Democratic primary voters go to polls to decide whom they want to be their presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois are locked in a battle that is too close to call, the latest Newsmax/Zogby telephone poll shows.

Posted on Apr 17, 2008 READ MORE


Whose Elitism Is Worse?

It is hard to blame John McCain for mocking Barack Obama as an “elitist” following that silly remark about bitter folks who cling to guns and religion. Rarely does the Arizona senator—one of the wealthiest members of Washington’s most exclusive club—encounter such a tempting chance to masquerade as a populist.

Posted on Apr 17, 2008 READ MORE


homes for sale
Flickr / caswell_tom

Democratic Voters Agree: Bail Us Out

According to a new L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll, the vast majority of Democratic voters in the next three primary battlegrounds want the government to bail out struggling homeowners. Most don’t seem to care that the Fed rescued Bear Stearns; they just want the same treatment.

Posted on Apr 16, 2008 READ MORE


memorial
Flickr / Kevindooley

The $3-Trillion War

Harvard scholar Linda Bilmes speaks about the book on the Iraq war’s costs that she wrote with Joseph Stiglitz. The two former Truthdiggers of the Week have been working hard to uncover even more hidden expenses for the war, which they estimate will cost the taxpayers and their children trillions of dollars.

Posted on Apr 16, 2008 READ MORE


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