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The Tyranny of Dead Ideas

The Tyranny of Dead Ideas

By Matt Miller
$16.50

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Madoff estate
gawker.com

Mrs. Madoff Heading to Palm Beach

While her husband is entering a decidedly less lavish living arrangement, it appears that Ruth Madoff is getting ready to live the Palm Beach life in her $9.4 million spread in Florida—a state known for property laws that protect owners from losing their homes even when other assets are seized.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Maddow and Letterman

Maddow on the Economy, Olbermann’s Giant Head

MSNBC’s resident smartypants, Rachel Maddow, paid a visit to “Late Night With David Letterman” on Monday to guesstimate the size of Keith Olbermann’s coconut, describe her rise to the heights of punditry and opine about how Wall Street is like a bumper-car ring.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Failure Retention Payments

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Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Mark Lennihan

N.Y. Attorney General Investigates AIG’s ‘Staggering’ Bonus Mess

In a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, reprinted here, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo shares what his office has discovered so far about AIG’s scandalous bonuses, which “made more than 73 millionaires in the unit which lost so much money that it brought the firm to its knees, forcing a taxpayer bailout.”

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Those Hit Hardest Get No Bailout

Taxpayers’ bailout money for AIG bonuses has rightfully provoked a massive backlash against AIG, Wall Street, President Barack Obama and his economic advisers, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Now It’s Personal

The last thing the surgeon said to me before they rolled me into the operating room was, “You know, if you and Obama had your way with health care, it wouldn’t be me doing this operation. It would just be some guy.”

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Time to Put the Clamps on Tobacco

An idea that has been around for years now has reached that rarest of moments: There is a political environment that should, if reason prevails, produce legislation to require the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Ed Andrieski

Small-Town Homophobia, On and Off the Stage

While trying to teach her students about homophobia, Debra Taylor could have done without what appeared to be an illustrative demonstration: The Oklahoma high school teacher was forced to resign in a controversy that grew out of a gay-related project undertaken by her class. Taylor and her students had been working on their own production of “The Laramie Project,” a play and film based on the murder of Matthew Shepard.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


Krugman
Wikimedia Commons/Prolineserver

Krugman Is Worried About Europe

The American economy is certainly a cause for concern at the moment, but Paul Krugman is more troubled by issues abroad, declaring in his New York Times column on Monday that “the situation in Europe worries me even more than the situation in America.” Uh-oh.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


Tarred and Feathered

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Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE    


New Stimulus Plan

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Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


Smash-Me Bernie
minimemodelworks.com

Madoff’s Businesses Worth $10M, Tops

Although $10 million is a lot of money, it’s not much compared with $50 billion in lost investments. The $10 million figure represents the upper limit of the current value of Bernard Madoff’s businesses, which Madoff had valued at $826 million before his proverbial fall. It doesn’t look good for his defrauded investors’ chances of reclaiming much of their missing funds.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / VictoryNH: Protect Our Primary

Steele Reassures Base With Goofy Tirade

Michael Steele recently irritated his party by taking a tolerant view of abortion, but the RNC chairman is here to let everyone know that there’s plenty of crazy where that came from. While guest-hosting a talk show, Steele compared President Obama to Richard Nixon and argued that, science be damned, the Earth isn’t getting warmer—it’s getting colder.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


Bernanke

Bernanke: Recession Will ‘Probably’ End This Year

In a rare interview with Ben Bernanke broadcast Sunday on “60 Minutes,” the Federal Reserve chairman allowed himself to sound slightly more optimistic, although ever so cautiously so, about the possibility that the American economy will pull out of recession soon—perhaps, he said, by the end of this year.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy

Secret Report Documents CIA Torture

President Bush repeatedly claimed that the United States, under his leadership, did not torture, but a confidential report prepared by the International Committee of the Red Cross found otherwise. The ICRC has a unique global role in monitoring the treatment of prisoners.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

Obama Aiming to Block AIG Bonuses

AIG’s dishing out $165 million in bonuses to executives who played a part in bringing their company to near ruin is an “outrage,” according to President Barack Obama, who pledged to do whatever he can to stop the payouts at the bailed-out insurance giant. Updated

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


One Bad Apple

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Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE



Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

The False Idol of Unfettered Capitalism

The Ten Commandments were for the ancients, and are for us, the core rules that, when honored, hold us together, and when dishonored lead to alienation, discord and violence. The worship of the free market has turned out to be an idol, and like all idols it has now demanded its human sacrifice.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


Israel’s Right-Wing Government Takes Shape

Benjamin Netanyahu has taken a step closer to the prime minister’s office by signing a deal with ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman, who will become Israel’s foreign minister if Netanyahu is able to put the finishing touches on a governing coalition. The ascendancy of both men is a major blow to the peace process.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


A Big Moment for Volunteerism

The House this week is expected to vote to expand civilian service, and the Senate will soon take up a similar bill. This issue holds the promise of producing that much prized but elusive Washington commodity: a large bipartisan majority. 

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE



Collage from Flickr / mobilestreetlife

OK—So Where Did the Other Billions Go?

In the face of mounting public outrage, AIG has revealed how it spent $75 billion of taxpayer money, a sum that amounts to less than half of the government’s $170 billion bailout of the firm. AIG says it gave a sizable chunk of the money to banks, including foreign institutions, and spent a pretty penny to cover junk investments.

Posted on Mar 15, 2009 READ MORE


Dick Cheney
White House / David Bohrer

Bush Left Scooter ‘Hanging in the Wind,’ Says Cheney

The former vice president is still sore that his top aide didn’t get a presidential pardon. Dick Cheney told CNN that he and the president had a “fundamental difference of opinion” that ultimately “left Scooter sort of hanging in the wind, which I didn’t think was appropriate.”

Posted on Mar 15, 2009 READ MORE


Sharif
AP photo / B.K. Bangash

Sharif Under House Arrest as Crisis Builds in Pakistan

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was placed under house arrest in Lahore on Sunday as opposition groups prepared to march on Islamabad to call for the reinstatement of judges deposed by former President Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan’s current president, Asif Ali Zardari, had said shortly after taking power last fall that he would reverse his predecessor’s ruling but has yet to make good on his pledge. Update 2: Crisis averted (sort of) ... for now.

Posted on Mar 14, 2009 READ MORE


Iran nuclear program

Will Iran Come Out of the Nuclear Closet?

A U.S. official believes that Iran has obtained enough nuclear material to make a bomb. Israel is believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, though it has never acknowledged this. Why does Iran pursue a nuclear bomb? And will Iran come out of the nuclear closet?

Posted on Mar 14, 2009 READ MORE


AIG logo
listphile.com

AIG to Dish Out $165 Million in Post-Bailout Bonuses

The tug of war continues between corporate financial giants and the federal government, and certain members of the former seem to have some trouble adjusting to their post-bailout status. AIG, for example, is still planning to reward its top 400 executives with a whopping $165 million in bonuses this weekend, even after the company was given more than $170 billion from taxpayers to stay afloat. Updated

Posted on Mar 14, 2009 READ MORE


Cramer and Stewart
comedycentral.com

CNBC Does Damage Control After Stewart-Cramer Showdown

CNBC and sister cabler MSNBC promoted Jim Cramer’s appearance on “The Daily Show” last week, but that was before he was soundly trounced by Jon Stewart. After the fact, CNBC and its affiliate networks haven’t exactly been playing highlight clips in heavy rotation, and some industry types believe that damage may have been done to the financial network’s reputation.

Posted on Mar 14, 2009 READ MORE


No Smokething

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Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE    


Madoff
AP photo / Jason DeCrow

Madoff Wants Out of Jail ... for Now

Citing such sketchy precedents as rulings in the cases of Enron’s Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, Bernard Madoff’s legal team filed an appeal at a New York federal court on Friday requesting that their client be released on bail until he is sentenced on June 16.

Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE


Cramer on TheStreet.com TV

Jim Cramer’s Stock Market Manipulation Primer

So, CNBC hyperpundit Jim Cramer was the very picture of contrition during his cringe-tastic appearance on Thursday night’s “Daily Show.” But let’s revisit this moment from 2006—when Cramer brought a much haughtier version of himself to TheStreet.com TV to discuss, among other delightful topics, how to “create a new truth to develop a fiction” whilst in “hedge-fund mode”—shall we?

Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE


Benedict XVI
highvolumemedia.com

Pope Admits Vatican’s Mistake in Holocaust Controversy

The Vatican is about to become a more Web-savvy institution, according to Benedict XVI. The pope issued a public statement Friday acknowledging that the Holy See failed to investigate the background of Holocaust-denying British Bishop Richard Williamson before formally welcoming him back into the Church’s good graces in January.

Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Madoff Hauled Off, Cramer Dressed Down

Once again, the economy is front and center on “Left, Right & Center”—and with good reason.

Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE


Cramer and Stewart

Jon Stewart’s Not Buying What Jim Cramer’s Selling

In this highly anticipated face-off between Jon Stewart and CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Thursday’s “Daily Show,” Cramer furiously backpedals as he’s zinged repeatedly by a (mostly) courteous but relentless Stewart, who questions whether Cramer isn’t a snake-oil salesman who has supported the myth that there is one unified economic system that works the same for everybody while knowing that’s not the case.

Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE


Pakistani Protests
nytimes.com

Police Pounce on Pakistani Protests

Anti-government demonstrations in Pakistan were thwarted by police Thursday, as opposition leaders were arrested and protesters were stopped after the government claimed that such public gatherings could be sites for terrorist attacks.

Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE


Sri Lanka Injuries
wn.com

U.N. Warns of Sri Lankan War Crimes

After an estimated 10,000 civilian deaths or injuries in only two months, the U.N. has called on the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels to immediately suspend fighting, suggesting that actions by both parties may constitute violations of international human rights law.

Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE


Mullen and Rose

Adm. Mike Mullen on Charlie Rose

Get inside the head of Barack Obama’s chief military adviser, Adm. Mike Mullen, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he chats up Charlie Rose in a telling discussion centered on international relations and the trajectory of U.S. foreign policy.

Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE


Border Patrolling
blueservo.net

Big Brother 2.0

A xenophobic Web site funded by a Texas government grant provides 15 live feeds of “high-crime areas” near the fence between U.S. and Mexico, urging people to go on “virtual stakeouts” from their computers and report “suspicious activity” to authorities.

Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Tony Platt on Wall Street Terror Attack

Beverly Gage’s new book exhumes a nearly forgotten tale of class warfare—call it 9/16.

Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE


For Competition Before They Were Against It

Republicans insist that “competition solves health care,” and tell us that government programs are worse than private health insurance. So, don’t they welcome a private-versus-public competition, believing that the former will trump the latter? Well ... uh ... no.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


From Frozen Minds, a ‘Spending Freeze’

Things are bad, and very likely to get worse—but the Republicans seem determined to plunge us into a real depression, gambling that catastrophe would return them to power.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


A Bad Fix Would Be No Fix

Advice to solve the financial crisis before even thinking about health care, energy or education is either misguided or disingenuous. Fortunately, Obama seems to be ignoring all the chatter.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE



NASA

Climate Crisis Looks Worse and Worse

Scientists meeting in Copenhagen say the U.N.’s worst climate fears are already coming to pass. Lord Stern, who helped alert the world to the economic perils of climate change, said at the conference that his 2006 report underestimated both the speed and scope of climate change.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


Big Love
starpulse.com

‘Big Love’ Causes Scene With Mormon Church

Some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints got their sacred undergarments in a twist about an upcoming episode of “Big Love” in which secret religious practices and spaces are depicted. HBO has apologized, but, as Salt Lake Tribune columnist Vince Horiuchi wonders, will all this hubbub just serve to draw more attention to Sunday’s installment of the series?

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


Madoff pleads guilty
AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano

Madoff: ‘Deeply Sorry,’ ‘Ashamed,’ Guilty

The country’s most notorious scam artist, Bernard Madoff, pleaded guilty on Thursday to fleecing thousands of investors out of as much as $65 billion at the New York District Courthouse, where several of his defrauded clients turned up to hear him speak.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Chuck Kennedy

Obama on the Defensive as Stock Rebound Continues

The Dow is up another 240 points, gaining 9.5 percent over the last three days, but the president doesn’t want you getting too excited about it—or too distraught when things inevitably swing the other way.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


Colbert and Rand

Conservatives ♥ Ayn Rand

What with all this economic turmoil of late, not to mention a suspected socialist in the White House, right-wing pundits like femmebot Michelle Malkin and fellow Fox-friendly cretin Glenn Beck are looking to “author, philosopher and female comb-over pioneer” Ayn Rand for guidance. Stephen Colbert thinks they should move to an island all their own, where less work gets done on purpose.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE



AP pool photo / Aleksey Nikolskyi

Barack Obama, Meet Team B

The president must be getting bad advice. Why else would he offer not to build a missile defense system he doesn’t want in exchange for Russia’s help with an Iranian nuclear weapons program that doesn’t exist?

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


Zaidi
AP photo / Evan Vucci

Shoe-Thrower Gets 3 Years in Prison

Muntadar al-Zaidi became an instant hero to many when he lobbed his shoes at then-President Bush, but he’ll spend the next three years in an Iraqi prison. The sentence could have been five times longer, but still seems a harsh punishment for a crime that Bush himself praised as an example of free expression.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


Bill Gates
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation / Prashant Panjiar

Do the Billionaire Shuffle

Bill Gates is once again the world’s richest man, though he rules over a ravaged kingdom of billionaires. Forbes’ annual list has shriveled by nearly a third and $2 trillion in net worth. Those poor billionaires.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE


The ‘Comfy Retirement’ Dream Has Exploded

No Wall Street rally can obscure the scary historical prospect that most Americans now working can expect to have less income security in retirement than their parents had.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE


The Point of Pointing Fingers

Obama speaks disdainfully of “ideology,” but there comes a time when first principles need to be articulated. Conservatives have entered this fight with guns blazing while progressives have hidden behind a Maginot Line armed only with the word pragmatism.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE


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