Wednesday, November 16, 2011 12:21 PM
Some of the best stuff from the Twitter feeds we follow...
The Nation (@
Robert Reich eviscerates the Supercommittee's skewed priorities, draws a cartoon.
See more at The Nation
Mother Jones (@
Chart of the Day: How Not to Create Jobs mojo.ly/vy6C5e
Chuck Marr of CBPP notes that the CBO recently studied a laundry list of job creation proposals and concluded that higher unemployment benefits had the biggest bang for the buck. "That’s not surprising," he says, "given that jobless people are severely cash constrained and would quickly spend most of any incremental increase in cash and that, in turn, would lead to higher demand and job creation."
But which proposal came in last?
See Kevin Drum’s Chart of the Day at MoJo
The American Prospect (@
Despite what you've heard from many pundits, Mitt Romney isn't the kid who gets picked last in gym class. ampro.me/u6m2We
Mitt Romney is just as popular as Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich, his problem—in part—is that he has too many competitors, and Republican voters are indulging the extent to which they have a fair amount of choice. When the field begins to winnow in January, odds are very good that Romney will pick up a lot more support from Republican voters.
Read more about a Gallup poll about the Republican presidential candidates at The American Prospect
In These Times (@
Library in the slammer, roughed up. Librarians surveying the damage. bit.ly/sxUK22 @melissagira livetweeting from the garage.
OWS librarians attempted to reclaim their collection and found it decimated, according to the Maddow Blog. The librarians told Maddow that they only found 25 boxes of books in storage, many of which were damaged or desroyed. Laptop computers were recovered, damanged beyond repair.
Read more at In These Times
Bill McKibben (@billmckibben)
If you want to see someone looking nervous on Colbert, tonite is your big chance
Oxford American (@
Musician Chris Isaak likes Oxford American
“I was reading the ‘Oxford American,’ a great, great music magazine,” he said. “It’s like getting four years of ‘Rolling Stone’ all in the same magazine.”
Read the rest of the article about Chris Isaak in The Kansas City Star
Thursday, March 24, 2011 11:20 AM
Last week, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) reintroduced a bill that would end funding for abstinence-only-before-marriage sex education.
Scientists have developed a fork that makes music when you eat off it. Called the EaTheremin, it emits a different tone depending on what kind of food you’re eating.
Could the newly invented “flipback” book—a lightweight reincarnation of the printed book—be the end to e-readers?
Living in L.A. has its dangers—including the risk of near-fatal snakebite.
You can’t escape industrial pollution, even on Mount Everest.
Quinoa is good for you—and its surging popularity is bad for many Bolivians.
We shouldn’t fret over meltdowns, Seth Godin reassures us. Remember, coal production kills 4,000 times as many people as nuclear power. Tom Engelhardt, meanwhile, is not so easily reassured. And the interactive graphics whizzes at the Wall Street Journal show what your local nuclear evacuation zone looks like.
The celebrity hairdo, sans célébrités.
Photographer Chris Jordan found out what happens when plastic meets the G.I. tracts of North Pacific birds: adorable, cinematic tragedy.
Have you read Think Quarterly, Google’s new free magazine?
Robert Reich on the Republicans’ big lies about jobs.
Thursday, February 10, 2011 9:44 AM
Why are the letters 'z' and 'y' so popular in drug names? BMJ investigates.
A bit of scientific humor from the wags at The Journal of Irreproducible Results: Candidate for a Pullet Surprise.
Readings from Flyover Country.
Oh yeah, baby, rend those garments. Two authors argue that the Bible can be sexy.
By sending you this link, we’re violating the first two rules of Geek Fight Club: Don’t talk about Geek Fight Club.
Mark Dowie (written about at Utne here, here, and here) has a new podcast at Guernica. In the first installment he talks to Todd Gitlin, who argues that the relationship between America and Israel is steeped in the belief that both nations were “chosen” by God.
Never one to mince words, Robert Reich tells us why the Republicans attack on “job-killing regulations” is dumb.
Brooklyn artist Olek is turning the craft of crochet into a renegade art form. She’s on a mission to cover the world with yarn, from people to bicycles to Wall Street’s Charging Bull.
Will technology help save the world or ultimately abolish our freedom?
Farewell, Open Left, and thanks for being a hotbed of whip-smart progressive commentary and debate since 2007.
Monday, November 15, 2010 1:46 PM
Revenues and Spending Exluding Interest, by Category, as a Percentage of Gross Domestic Product Under [Congressional Budgest Office's] Long-Term Budget Scenario.*
Economist Robert Reich and Mother Jonesblogger Kevin Drum agree on the proposal put forth by co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson last week to reduce the federal budget deficit. They agree that they disagree with it, that is. Or they at least disagree with where the report places its emphasis.
According to Reich:
At their best, presidential commissions focus the public’s attention—not only on the right solution to some important problem but also on the right problem. Sadly, this preliminary report does neither.
If the report misses the mark, where then should the commission be looking? “[A]ny serious long-term deficit plan will spend about 1% of its time on the discretionary budget, 1% on Social Security, and 98% on healthcare,” Drum writes.
Any proposal that doesn't maintain approximately that ratio shouldn't be considered serious. The Simpson-Bowles plan, conversely, goes into loving detail about cuts to the discretionary budget and Social Security but turns suddenly vague and cramped when it gets to Medicare. That's not serious.
Reich agrees, with slightly different percentages:
As to solution, the report mentions but doesn’t emphasize the biggest driver of future deficits – the relentless rise in health-care costs coupled with the pending corrosion of 77 million boomer bodies. This is 70 percent of the problem, but it gets about 3 percent of the space in the draft.
And, while the report suffers from the lack of attention it gives to health-care costs, it suffers a more fundamental flaw, according the Reich: The “unquestioned assumption that America’s biggest economic challenge is to reduce the federal budget deficit.”
This is Reich’s drum, and he beats it often. Calling it “budget-deficit mania,” he fears that too much attention given to reducing the deficit while still very much feeling the effects of the Great Recession could lead a slow, but steady climb out of that recession right off a cliff, ending in an economic flatline. Pointing out that in the past even a national debt of 120 percent of GDP has not been a lasting issue because the U.S. economy regained strength, Reich sees government as “the only remaining booster rocket” for the economy, since people aren’t spending and companies aren’t hiring. To focus too much on deficit reduction at the expense of investments that will improve the country will have dangerous long-term consequences.
The preliminary report of the President’s deficit commission doesn’t help. It’s another example of budget-deficit mania generating more heat than light.
While Drum dismisses the thing on its face:
Bottom line: this document isn't really aimed at deficit reduction. It's aimed at keeping government small. There's nothing wrong with that if you're a conservative think tank and that's what you're dedicated to selling. But it should be called by its right name. This document is a paean to cutting the federal government, not cutting the federal deficit.
Extra: Read a statement signed by more than 300 economists and civic leaders, including Robert Kuttner (a co-founder, along with Robert Reich, of The American Prospect), that fleshes out the job-growth path, as opposed to the deficit-reduction path to recovery.
: The alternative fiscal scenario deviates from CBO’s baseline projections even during the next 10 years, incorporating some changes in policy that are widely expected to occur and that policymakers have regularly made in the past.
Source: Mother Jones, Robert Reich
Image from the Congressional Budget Office.
Monday, November 01, 2010 1:15 PM
“[T]he electronic highway is for bulletin boards on esoteric subjects, reference works, lists and news….Nobody is going to sit down and read a novel on a twitchy little screen. Ever.”
Few have ever missed the mark quite so badly as Annie Proulx did in 1994 with the quote above. Across the board, from author to publisher to seller we’re seeing the effects of books moving from the page to Proulx’s “twitchy little screens.” But maybe there’s some good to be had for the authors. Maybe the playing field can be leveled and the ideas of the writer can come through these new channels; instead of the writer being sold, the words will once again be the commodity. Or so speculates Robert B. Reich in The American Prospect. As the internet disintermediates books, Reich wonders, will he have the opportunity to put the ideas and proposals he’s spent his adult life marketing out front, rather than schlepping his own personality along with his books? Not so fast, concludes Reich unfortunately. Without the usual intermediaries to market the product, Reich himself will have to do all the work: “Of course, all this will require marketing. After all, I’ll need to attract customers…I’ll be on my own. That means I’ll have to sell myself like mad—not my ideas but me. Get it? Disintermediation isn’t the end of humiliation. It’s just the beginning.”
Source: The American Prospect
Image by bradlindert, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010 9:34 AM
The September issue of The American Prospect opens with an essay from Robert Kuttner, one of the magazines founders, analyzing the first two decades of the magazine’s existence. Kuttner sees “gains and losses to the liberal project” that is at the heart of the magazine.
In the win column for that project Kuttner lists the inclusion of minorities and women into more aspects of society, using the election of Barack Obama, as well as the ascension of Sarah Palin as examples of liberal gains in the politics of inclusion.
Still, Kuttner sees an area where the liberal project has failed. “Since 1990,” he writes, “particular movements demanding inclusion made great gains, but the general movement to harness capitalism and broaden prosperity has suffered terrible losses.”
What to make of these gains and losses? Kuttner takes three things away:
“First, the out-groups that won major gains did so as genuine and impolite social movements, not as supplicants.…
“Second, liberals in and out of government need to think bigger, not smaller.…
“Third, whether on the liberal left of the conservative right, the gains and losses of the era from Reagan to Obama began as battles of ideas.”
Kuttner rightly concludes: “Magazines like [The American Prospect] matter because ideas matter.”
Source: The American Prospect
Friday, August 06, 2010 3:06 PM
Once you start looking for the commons, you’ll find them everywhere, from roads and water to money systems and the stock market, to the Internet and the oceans. As commons-based thinking grows in influence, we present this guide to some of our favorite resources and writings on the commons. Also see our series of articles on the commons in the September-October 2010 issue of Utne Reader.
The nonprofit organization On the Commons is one of the best single sources on the commons, featuring resources on a host of topics and writers including former Utne Reader editor Jay Walljasper and activist/strategist David Bollier.
The website Shareable emphasizes sharing more than commons as its buzzword, but it covers similar ground. One notable project is the Shareable Futures series, featuring stories and essays that touch on commons themes by writers including sci-fi scribes Cory Doctorow and Bruce Sterling.
If you enjoyed the interview with commons pioneer Elinor Ostrom in the September-October Utne Reader, check out her “8 Keys to a Successful Commons” that ran with the original interview in Yes magazine.
Former labor secretary Robert Reich weighs in with a way to help the ailing economy—invest in the common good—in his article “From Consumers to Commons” in The American Prospect.
David Bollier extends this line of thinking to drugs and treatments in “Restore Medicine to the Commons” from the Boston Review.
As we prepare to reform copyright and intellectual property law for a digital era, commons thinking is forming some of the legal foundation. Cornell Law Review dedicated an entire issue to the cultural commons, which extends from Wikipedia and Linux software to the Associated Press and jam-band fan communities that trade concert recordings. Using Elinor Ostrom’s research as a starting point, a host of writers point the way to possible futures.
Last year, a study found that commons-based forest management can be good for people, the forest, and a warming earth. Read about it at New Scientist or Treehugger—or see the report itself, “Trade-offs and Synergies Between Carbon Storage and Livelihood Benefits from Forest Commons,” by Ashwini Chhatrea and Arun Agrawalk, from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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