(Counterpunch) I am not going to read George Bush’s memoir. But who I do read is Jim Grant, of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer. This weekend, I found a copy of Grant’s weekly report dated October 12, 2001. Although the Bush wars had not been invented, the housing boom in Florida had already been lined up like pins in a bowling alley. Gov. Jeb Bush, propelled by homebuilders and the Growth Machine, had been in office for three years. Insta-grow suburbs like Kendall and Wellington had already proven out. Demand seemed endless. It was all scaleable: from mortgage hucksters to local zoning changes in farmland and wetlands like the Everglades, to the state legislature and the Governor’s Mansion where “free” market fundamentalism ruled all week but Sunday. Florida was the test tube state, and it sucked. Read the rest of this entry »
(Counterpunch) The other day, Nick, my 20 year old, called me in Miami on his cell phone from a crowded sidewalk in Manhattan. “Dad, are you at your computer?”. I knew what was coming next. “Can you check a phone number for me?” You see, I’ve become the occasional telephone directory for my twenty something sons. With a few taps on google or Yahoo, I have what they want; the number, the address, and a street view. Charlie once called me in Miami from the Pacific Coast Highway looking for a hotel room (reasonably priced but not too far from the ocean). I could help him, too. Read the rest of this entry »
(Counterpunch) In The New York Times, Tom Friedman reports from India and a conversation with a local entrepreneur, “After asking for an explanation of the Tea Party’s politics, Gupta remarked: “Where is the American dream? Where is the optimism?” To help answer those questions, watch the CBS 60 Minutes Segment on the people of Newton, Iowa. The landscape of Newton stands for hundreds of thousands of American communities that were shaped from mom-and-pop stores and businesses serving industry to franchises of corporations serving other service-oriented corporations, using economies of scale to obliterate cultural differences. Newton, Iowa is not so different from anywhere else, after all is said and done: scared, in debt, and shell-shocked how fast 40 years of American prosperity ended.