Tortured Rationalizations

Reading Time: 2 minutes In an opinion piece, the Wall Street Journal convincingly argues that top Democrats in Congress have been speaking out of both sides of their mouths in criticizing Bush Administration policy on Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs), also known as torture. These days, Speaker Pelosi insists she heard and saw no evil. “We were not — I Read More

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Big Pharma Pays to Publish its own "Journals"

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Scientist reports that Elsevier, the world’s leading publisher of scientific and medical texts, has taken money from Merck and other pharmaceutical companies to issue official-looking journals that subtly pushed their products. Scientific publishing giant Elsevier put out a total of six publications between 2000 and 2005 that were sponsored by unnamed pharmaceutical companies and Read More

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