Learning How to Survive in a Depression From “Weeds”: Television, the American Landscape and the New Economy

July 30, 2009

(Counterpunch) Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Sunday said he engineered the central bank’s controversial actions over the past year because “I was not going to be the Federal Reserve chairman who presided over the second Great Depression.” Bernanke either doesn’t acknowledge or hasn’t tapped into the new zeiteist on pay cable television– where a raft of characters and plots are better leading indicators than those preoccupying Federal Reserve economists. If Washington doesn’t know how to describe a Depression, Americans attracted to cable TV do.

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Waiting for That One, Perfect Cast: Ted Williams and the Florida Keys

July 22, 2009

(Counterpunch) As a grade school kid in Providence RI I was a baseball fanatic. I dreamt the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees and practiced my home run swing in my sleep. I memorized statistics and slept with my baseball glove under my pillow with neats foot oil so it would be pliable for tomorrow’s pickup game. I could have been anyone of those kids caught in the camera during the excellent HBO documentary on Ted Williams, the Boston Red Sox legend, broadcast this week. Although Williams had already retired from baseball when I became a grade school expert of the game, he still cast a long shadow over Fenway Park– if only for his impossible hitting average. Fast forward a few decades for my Ted Williams story. Read the rest of this entry »


Incident at Buzzard’s Bay: The life and times of Robert McNamara

July 9, 2009

(Counterpunch) In the end Robert McNamara said his mea culpas for the Vietnam War. He had been Secretary of Defense; his demeanor and bearing not unlike Donald Rumsfeld’s — utterly convinced he was right even when overwhelming evidence had proven him wrong. Read the rest of this entry »


Principle over Principal, An Unblinking View From the Rabbit Hole

July 7, 2009

In a sign of how perilous the national economy is, The New York Times favors broadly reducing principal on underwater residential mortgages (“Not much relief”, July 5, 2009). “Everybody wins” according to the Times by resolving the collateral damage of a speculator-driven economy. Taxpayers win because they will not be required to dole out additional billions when the economy is dragged down further the rabbit hole.

But here is who doesn’t win: responsible homeowners who did not buy a bigger mortgage than they could reasonably afford, or, citizens who could have bought but rented or who otherwise remained on the sidelines during the speculative frenzy that turned home mortgages into gambling chips to enhance their standard of living. Why should these heroes be forced to pay? Read the rest of this entry »