TBIF ReadsPosted: June 29, 2012
Here’s some reads to get you started today!
“I haven’t had a chance to read the decision. I literally just heard as we landed that the Supreme Court has upheld the healthcare law. Obviously I want to get into the details, but I’m very pleased. That’s how I hoped it would turn out,” Clinton said in video posted by PSB’s “NewsHour” and reported by Agence France Presse.
The high court ruled to uphold the healthcare law in 5-4 decision that prompted calls for repeal from Republicans and daylong praise by Democrats.
“I think it’s a great moment to just think about what this will mean for the millions and millions of Americans who have already benefited from the Affordable Care Act and some many more who will continue to do so,” Clinton added.
She noted that although there is still a lot of work to do implementing the healthcare law, she was “obviously quite exited to hear the results.”
Most right-wing hacks responded in their normal over-the top way. Rush Limbaugh–why is he still relevant?–said that SCOTUS was a “death panel”. The Aqua Buddha doesn’t understand the role of the Supreme Court in the constitution. He said that just because SCOTUS says it’s constitutional doesn’t mean it is constitutional. Representative “Mean Jean” Schmidt gives all women a bad name with this show of hysteria. (Let’s not even mention Quitterella or “I married a closet case” Michelle Bachmann.) Let’s just say the Teabots are on a rampage.
I’m sure we will find more realistic assessments of the ruling in a few days when constitutional law scholars sift through the thing.
Nobel Prize winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz is out on the interview circuit in support of his new book. Here’s an interesting interview with Stiglitz on the terrible consequences of income inequality.
One of the myths that I try to destroy is the myth that if we do anything about inequality it will weaken our economy. And that’s why the title of my book is The Price of Inequality. What I argue is that if we did attack these sources of inequality, we would actually have a stronger economy. We’re paying a high price for this inequality. Now, one of the mischaracterizations of those of us who want a more equal or fairer society, is that we’re in favor of total equality, and that would mean that there would be no incentives. That’s not the issue. The question is whether we could ameliorate some of the inequality — reduce some of the inequality by, for instance, curtailing monopoly power, curtailing predatory lending, curtailing abusive credit card practices, curtailing the abuses of CEO pay. All of those kinds of things, what I generically call “rent seeking,” are things that distort and destroy our economy.
So in fact, part of the problem of low taxes at the top is that since so much of the income at the very top is a result of rent seeking, when we lower the taxes, we’re effectively lowering the taxes on rent seeking, and we’re encouraging rent-seeking activities. When we have special provisions for capital gains that allow speculations to be taxed at a lower rate than people who work for a living, we encourage speculation. So that if you look at the design bit of our tax structure, it does create incentives for doing the wrong thing.
Basically this means that lowering taxes for the hyper-rich doesn’t create jobs. It creates gambling and influence peddling.
Even people who don’t like Nora Ephron movies have to concede that she broadened things for women, both the female professionals following in her wake and the female audience members soaking in her stories. She was no bleeding-edge feminist, but in a culture that produces one vapid Prince Charming chick flick after another, Ephron generally focused on characters—Julia Child among them—who had their own force of personality, their own reasons for being.
Truthdig contributor Carrie Rickey remembers on her own blog eight of her favorite Ephron lines. Here are three:
“When your children are teenagers it’s important to have a dog so someone in the house is happy to see you when you get home.” — from the book “I Feel Bad About My Neck”
“Harry, you have to find a way of not expressing every feeling you have, every moment you have them.” — spoken by Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally … ”
“She makes coffee nervous” — spoken by Tom Hanks (of Parker Posey) in “You’ve Got Mail”
I guess I’m going multimedia these days. I have another Youtube for you. This one is kinda kewl. It’s on “mathematics made visible and the art of M.C. Escher. Who hasn’t had at least one of his posters hanging on your dorm or bedroom wall as a kid?
His cool, analytic tendency was apparent from the start. “Maurits Escher is a good graphic artist,” wrote the headmaster of the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts in 1922, the year of Escher’s graduation, “but he lacks the right artistic temperament. His work is to too cerebral–neither emotional nor lyrical enough.” Escher’s work became even more cerebral over time, as it grew in geometric sophistication.
There’s a great 1 hour long documentary available too. Follow the link above when you have the time. It’s well worth it.
I also recommend that you read the FT and “A manifesto for economic sense” by Paul Krugman and Richard Layard.
As a result of their mistaken ideas, many western policy makers are inflicting massive suffering on their peoples. But the ideas they espouse about how to handle recessions were rejected by nearly all economists after the disasters of the 1930s. It is tragic that in recent years the old ideas have again taken root.
The best policies will differ between countries and will require debate. But they must be based on a correct analysis of the problem. We therefore urge all economists and others who agree with the broad thrust of this manifesto for economic sense to register their agreement online and to publicly argue the case for a sounder approach. The whole world suffers when men and women are silent about what they know is wrong.
Here’s an interesting archaeological find from the UK. A woman and a cow were found buried together in Cambridgeshire.
The grave was uncovered in Oakington by students from Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Central Lancashire.
At first it was thought the animal skeleton was a horse.
Student Jake Nuttall said: “Male warriors might be buried with horses, but a woman and a cow is new to us.”
He added: “We were excited when we thought we had a horse, but realising it was a cow made it even more bizarre.”
Co-director of the excavation, Dr Duncan Sayer, from the University of Central Lancashire, said: “Animal burials are extremely rare, anyway.Grave goods including brooches indicated the woman was of high status
“There are only 31 horse burials in Britain and they are all with men.
“This is the first animal to be discovered with a woman from this period – the late 5th Century – and it’s really interesting that it’s a cow, a symbol of economic and domestic wealth and power.
“It’s also incredibly early to find any grave of a woman buried with such obvious wealth.”
One more totally bizarre dig story. I know. I wanted to be an archaeologist as a kid. I’m still fascinated with it all. This one is from Philadelphia: “How Thousands of Headstones Ended Up Under a Philadelphia Bridge”. Go look at the pictures. They are very haunting and macabre.
The Betsy Ross Bridge in Philadelphia seems like any other. It doesn’t have the grace of the Golden Gate or the history of the Brooklyn Bridge, nor does it draw any acolytes wanting to make the trek across. The structure exists primarily to move people, and this it does well, helping connect Pennsylvania to New Jersey. Most commuters, however, are surely unaware of what the bridge’s foundation is actually built on: a cemetery.
The bridge springs from the headstones of a forsaken graveyard, dumped unceremoniously into the Delaware River. The sunken stones at the base of the bridge came from Monument Cemetery, once located two miles from City Hall. Monument Cemetery, established in 1839, was the second Victorian garden style cemetery in Philadelphia, after Laurel Hill, now a protected historic landmark. Monument was modeled after the Pere Lachaise in Paris, and was created to function both as a final resting place for the dead as well as a green respite from the surrounding urban environment.
That’s my offerings today! Thank Buddha it’s Friday! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?