Want Intelligence? Try the Media

Reading Time: < 1 minute The standard justification for the continued existence of the mysterious and unaccountable $55 billion-plus juggernaut called “the intelligence community” is that it gathers important information for decision-makers, and presents it to them in hush-hush circumstances. There’s an alternative to this proposition: people could try supporting the news media. In a May 5 New York Times Read More

What is the New York Times saying?

Reading Time: 2 minutes In an article titled “Debate on Trump Project takes the Low Road,” about some troubling goings-on in the hamlet of Balmedie, Scotland, the lead paragraphs read as follows: Since refusing to let Donald Trump buy his house, inconveniently located in the middle of Mr. Trump’s planned $1.5 billion development in the countryside here, Michael Forbes Read More

The Noblest and Best

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Wall Street Journal published a stunning report yesterday on how New York Federal Reserve Chairman Stephen Friedman enriched himself by purchasing Goldman Sachs stock while the Federal Reserve was propping up the investment bank: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York shaped Washington’s response to the financial crisis late last year, which buoyed Goldman Read More

What's in a name?

Reading Time: < 1 minute The extent to which labels like “terrorist” and “bankruptcy reform” affect news coverage, public perceptions, and even public-policy decisions cannot be overstated. Yet we too rarely discuss this matter. The Los Angeles Times takes it on with regard to whether or not Sudan’s behavior in Darfur should be designated “genocide.”

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Derivatives and Debauchery

Reading Time: 2 minutes The UK Independent recently published fascinating reminiscences by former UBS trader Philipp Meyer about his debauched life as an investment banker. The grotesque extravagance he describes seems straight out of Petronius’s Satyricon. I put on 45 pounds in my first year at the bank, and, as you might guess, it was not from eating McDonalds. Read More

Ownership Society

Reading Time: 2 minutes Last Thursday, April 30, there was a flood of stories that the evening news and the next morning’s papers had to cover: swine flu, Souter’s retirement from the Supreme Court, and the Chrysler bankruptcy, for starters. But the story with perhaps the largest public import somehow managed to escape attention, namely the Senate’s decision to Read More

A Precursor to Revolution?

Reading Time: < 1 minute Pulitzer-Prize-winning investigative journalist and tax expert David Cay Johnston recently gave a provocative interview to the Vermont independent weekly Seven Days. In it, he reveals that he once wanted to become a homicide detective for the LAPD (a dream more common among investigative journalists than you might think) and that, despite his railing against the Read More

Piling On

Reading Time: 3 minutes Last Saturday, the Washington Post ran an article on Jay Bybee, a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and former assistant attorney general in the White House’s Office of Legal Counsel.  In his role as the Justice Department’s issuer of legal opinions, Bybee was responsible for the various “torture memoranda” and signed perhaps Read More

Wall Street Back on Top

Reading Time: 2 minutes On Newsweek’s website, Michael Hirsh writes under the headline “The old system refuses to change. Is Obama getting the message?” He describes a late-March meeting between six Democratic senators, President Obama and his economic advisers—a meeting that has gone essentially unreported: …while they supported Obama, they were worried. The financial reform policies the president was Read More