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Ear to the Ground

A Policy in Search of a Proponent

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Posted on Apr 24, 2013

Now that the foundations of austerity are crumbling because of an Excel coding error, few may be willing to champion the economic theory; sci-fi may become part of the mandatory reading list for West Virginia students; meanwhile, flamenco has become more than a dance—it’s a new way to protest the banks. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

Who Is Defending Austerity Now?
Austerians have had their worst week since the last time GDP numbers came out for a country that’s tried austerity.

Bill for Compulsory Science Fiction in West Virginia Schools
A bill calling for science fiction to be made compulsory reading in schools has been proposed by a politician in West Virginia in order to “stimulate interest in the fields of math and science”.

Obama v. EPA: Constructing His Environmental Legacy
In the wake of Lady Thatcher’s passing, it’s good to remember that TINA (there is no alternative) is a miscreant.

Deficits Are Bad and the Sun Goes Around the Earth
Most of us accept that the earth goes around the sun.

‘The Failure of Fiscal-Monetary Policy, 2008-2013’
Fiscal and Monetary policies since the financial crisis and the protracted recession that began in 2008 have failed to generate a sustained recovery of the US economy—except for big banks, big corporations, investors and speculators, and the wealthiest 10% households.

Tremendous Pharmaceutical Profits or Totally Protected Plunder?
Quieter is better. That seems to be the motto driving the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Laws of Economics Don’t Exist!
Zachary Karabell is right on two counts: First, the “laws of economics” are often invoked to rule out policies and strategies, including alternative institutions, to solve pressing economic and social problems. And second, “laws of economics” don’t actually exist.

The Problem with the Problem with Health Care Costs
The most important piece of journalism so far in 2013 was commissioned by The New Republic. Unfortunately, due to a dispute, it appeared in Time, an obscure publication where no one will read it. It is so good, though, at clarifying our health care problem that it is worth digging up, even though it is two months old, and despite a few conceptual errors and confusions, undoubtedly inserted by the editors at Time.

Do You Have the Right to Remain Silent?
The FBI’s decision to interrogate the Boston marathon bombing suspect before reading him the Miranda warnings has been extensively criticized by civil libertarians.

Inequality and the Current Crises
Mainstream economists (like Brad DeLong) can’t seem to find any connections between growing inequality and the current crises.

Why Our Broken Senate Kills Popular Policies
The problems with the current Senate rules — namely the abuse of the filibuster by Republicans — are well known.

How Flash Mob Flamenco Took on the Banks
Banks are big in the news - all kinds of unexpected things are taking place in them these days.

Proceed with Caution toward the Self-Driving Car
Completely autonomous vehicles will remain a fantasy for years.

With E-Book Lending, Simon & Schuster Takes It Slow
Looking before you leap: a strategy that it might not hurt more publishers to adopt.

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